The record is a shimmering love letter to the Golden State, offering the clever wordplay, magical melodies and heartbreaking harmonies fans and critics have come to expect from the group while breaking new ground in focus, depth and texture.
The band is led by singer/ukulele player Karla Kane, with bassist Khoi Huynh, drummer Charlie Crabtree, and guitarists KC Bowman and co-founder Angela Silletto, who made the poignant decision to leave the band midway through the recording of the album to pursue a new path, away from her native California. Their sound defies pigeonholes but has been compared to that of Kirsty MacColl, XTC and, despite some sunshine-pop tendencies, the “rainy melancholia” of Camera Obscura (Magnet Magazine).
Produced by Allen Clapp (The Orange Peels), Poppy Seeds also features collaborations with power-pop legend Mike Viola (Candy Butchers) and psych-pop expat Anton Barbeau. The record boasts liner notes by best-selling novelist Wesley Stace (folk-rocker John Wesley Harding), who ponders, “Who is immune to the charms of airy female vocals and the ukulele, with lyrics full of pith (but not vinegar)? Nobody. The moment I turn on Poppy Seeds, I remember that sugar is sweet.”
Front and center are heavenly vocals, jangly guitars, delicate ukes, a thunderous rhythm section and Clapp’s trademark crystalline production, but present too are violins and woodwinds, a full handbell choir, and the sounds of loose-leaf tea, anti-depressant bottles and even crickets.
Since the release of the critically acclaimed Ultraviolet Garden, called a “nigh-on-perfect fusion of bubblegum-sweet tunefulness and clever, subtly barbed lyrics” (Icon Magazine) and “simply wonderful” (PopMatters), The Corner Laughers have received international radio airplay and reviews; had multiple songs in national retail campaigns; toured the UK twice and performed both locally and abroad with artists including Viola, Three Minute Tease (Barbeau, with Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe of The Soft Boys), Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), Martin Newell, Sophie Madeleine, Tristen, and The Moore Brothers.
Called by one reviewer a “Wrecking Crew in miniature” due to their ongoing work with Mystery Lawn Music label mates Allen Clapp and His Orchestra, Agony Aunts and others, The Corner Laughers go a step beyond their previous output with Poppy Seeds, down a king’s highway lined with shadows and sunlight, like the colorful, bittersweet pageantry of a Day of the Dead parade.
Follow the bells.