In the American midwest, the two weeks or so in mid-Spring that brings the year’s most vibrant crop of edible mushrooms coincides with the busiest season for a few of its most deceptively poisonous fungi: the false morels. Bearing a pale stalk and a halo of cerebral folds, they look like a lot of similar mushrooms, but if you can’t identify them for what they are, and treat them the right way, consuming even small quantities can cause vertigo, vomiting, and organ failure.
Lemon Quartet probably weren’t thinking about mushrooms when they made their debut album Crestless, but the false morels still provide a window into understanding their music. When you catch their intricately arranged instrumentals at a glance, you can see flashes of other airy artists—they trade in compositional ruffles that may feel familiar to followers of Gigi Masin or any number of releases on Valley of the Sun—but there’s this deep, dark something hiding in the record’s shadowy corners. It’s not poison though, just a mycelial complexity that begs that you take each piece and study its contours as you take and eat. The work that you put in makes it feel all the more nourishing.
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