St Kreun: Songs of Land and Waterways

by Zapoppin'

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about

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"We find ourselves on a faultline between rural Cornwall and early eighties Berlin, where the atmosphere of Witchfinder General infects the deranged cabaret-noir of The Birthday Party... Zapoppin' seem like the lost John Peel band that never was." - The Quietus

"Featuring souped up banjo and supercharged harmonium among their instrumental arsenal, the band stirs up a truly unique series of sounds and textures, topped with lyrical intelligence and imagination." - Louder Than War

"8 out of 10. Album of the week." - Horror Pop

"St Kreun is not a pastoral stroll along a stream; it’s roughneck horseplay that will get you kicked out of the pool." - Steampunk Chicago

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The sound of St Kreun is not that of pastoral quietude one might expect to be captur’d upon such a rural ‘story-record’. The audio-landscape of the place resonates with tremendous diversity.

Take the Kreun dam, water still crashing down its spillway today. It was built in 1884 and promised well-paid work for the young men of the area, as well as a then-unmatched industrial approach to labour. But as is the case with such landscape-changing arrivals, it is as denigrated as it is celebrated.

Beyond the working day, social interactions are awkward and drink-fuelled. Love blossoms and obsessions fester. The turbines creak within the great Kreun dam and seem to turn, too, the wheels of passion for those who live in its shadow. The aquaduct offers some analogous fascination as well, drawing water away during the wettest months.

Kreun is in some way a microcosm of the English non-urban. Today it remains very much an island unto itself, despite the increased connections and opportunity that came with the passing of the 20th Century into the new millennium. The town swelled and suburbs began to spider outwards from the cobbled streets and granite cottages. But developments were truly stunted with the collapse of the great dam in 2003. The tragedy is one that should be familiar to us all. Upkeep warnings weren’t heeded and the heart of the town was gouged out as the storm water punched its way back into the valley.

Much of what remains of old Kreun today is digital or anecdotal. Some of those anecdotes were even used in the creation of this long-player. As is the case for many who still live there, you can feel stuck in Kreun. But one truly sees a place that is moving and setting forth its own tropes and traditions echoing into the future. Tomorrow may bring new friendships among those that live there. It may bring drought or flood, though pray never too severe. And one thing is for sure, the songs of St Kreun are certainly not poignant ones.

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credits

released April 1, 2016

Tom Sharpe (banjo/vocals), Luke Richards (harmonium/vocals) and Matt Collington (drums/vocals). With Ted Cartwright (saxophone on 'Kreun Murmurings') and Dave Wisdom (recording, production, mastering and extra vocals on ''Duct'). Thanks to Alex Bertram-Powell who provided the "Kreun-Man" artwork.

Released in association with Damnsonic and Last Shop Recs.

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