With a sound heavily steeped in both the influences that sparked first life in the band and in their isolation from their Tucson peers, M. Crane calls from the high desert of the southwest with a unique voice.
Originally intended as a solo project by lyricist, lead vocalist and guitarist, Nick Maskill, M. Crane has come to be a full on collaboration between Maskill and lead guitarist, keys and percussionist, Kyle Rosas. Both Maskill and Rosas hail from the low deserts on either side of Tucson, El Paso and Yuma, respectively.
The alt-rock outfit’s original lineup played its first show at the historic Hotel Congress in July, 2015. Over the next year and a half, only Maskill and Rosas would remain of that lineup and recruit Andrew Lobo, a native of Queens and Tucson native Gabriela Lisk, formerly of Pipelights, to round out its final iteration with bass and drums, respectively.
To date, the group’s work consists of its January, 2016 release, the Sweethearts EP. It features seven tracks with a “moody, broody ambience decorated with cold and faraway feeling textures” (Heather Hoch, Tucson Weekly) and “emotive vocals…and dreamy soundscapes [that] meet loud rock and an overarching air of poignancy throughout” (Ryan Getz, Tuned Up). The release of Sweethearts would draw the bands first comparisons to acts such as Muse and the Mars Volta, with Maskill’s voice specifically eliciting frequent comparisons to those of Jeff Buckley, Matt Bellamy and Cedric Bixler-Zavala. Attendees of the shows have also noted that Rosas’ stylistic handling of the guitar, both in the studio and in live performances, pays homage to the likes of Johnny Marr of The Smiths and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead.
August, 2016 saw the release of a single and a b-side, Parks/New For You. These tracks signal a marked departure from the sound of its first effort with simplified arrangements and minimalistic instrumentation, yet carrying with it the same weight and darkness.
M. Crane’s debut full-length album, King She, is slated for release later this year followed by a West Coast tour.