Music, Print, Reviews January 13, 2021

Album Review: The Crooked Rugs – IT!

by Gabe Allen

When ingesting a psychedelic compound, there comes an inevitable moment when everyday objects suddenly become numinous, otherworldly creations. Although we at BandWagon have no idea whether the members of The Crooked Rugs have experienced this phenomenon, it’s a fitting metaphor for their music.

On their debut LP IT!, the Colorado quintet takes the compulsory ingredients of modern rock band instrumentation and creates something wonderfully foreign. Echoes of psych, prog and garage rock resound, but each song is clearly the result of diligent experimentation.

All together: The Crooked Rugs hunkered down in Durango to crank out their latest release. Photo and cover photo) by Alden Bonecutter.

In eight tracks, they cycle through at least four time signatures and a revolving door of syncopated grooves, with feels ranging from sparse and acoustic to distorted and cacophonous. Fans of Australian neo-psychedelic rockers King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets will be delighted to sink their teeth into this eclectic fare.

IT! was recorded this summer in Durango, the hometown of brothers Rex and Finn Stowers (guitarist, bassist respectively), and for an album made in a barn in rural Colorado, it’s anything but folksy. The band shook off the rust from a pandemic-induced break in gigging and spent a week recording songs they’d written over the past few years. They chose to record all together in the barn’s makeshift live room in order to best capture the energy of the collaboration.

The Crooked Rugs craft an audacious musical release for 2021: a full-length prog-rock LP called IT! out January 15. Photo by Alden Bonecutter

“Two people would feel like they nailed it, two others would feel so-so, and the last would just shake their head,” guitarist/vocalist Jayce Haley said. “As the week rolled on we were getting tighter and tighter on the songs, and learning a lot on how to best record the room.”

IT! is decidedly an album to be listened to all the way through, as two of the best tracks close out the set. On “Good Intentions,” a catchy major-key guitar riff glides over a ¾ groove while Haley’s carefree vocal performance clashes deliciously with the subject matter. And finally, the band’s instrumental wanderings on “Space Pirates” reach a dynamic climax best described as a heavy psych take on an Irish single jig – and it rocks. Hard.

IT! by Crooked Rugs drops January 15, 2021. Click here to follow them on BandCamp to ensure you don’t miss the release, and check out for more.