Mittwoch, 18. Juni 2014

Craft Spells - Nausea



















Justin Vallesteros und seine Mitstreiter veröffentlichten 2011 ihr zwischen Synthie- und Schlafzimmer-Pop pendelndes Debütalbum "Idle Labor". Bis auf eine weitere EP wurde es danach still um Craft Spells, denn der kreative Kopf zog zunächst nach San Francisco, hatte dann mit einer Schreibblockade zu kämpfen, kehrte wieder ins Haus seiner Eltern zurück und widmete sich fortan statt der Gitarre dem Piano. 

Das neue erlernte Instrument öffnete wohl auch wieder die kreativen Schleusen, so dass mittlerweile "Nausea" veröffentlicht werden konnte, auch wenn es klanglich in eine neue Richtung tendiert: verhaltener, melancholischer und sphärischer Dreampop, dargeboten zu Piano, echten Streichern und Akustikgitarre. Beim ersten Hören wirken die Songs vielleicht etwas zu gleichförmig und einlullend, so dass man ein wenig Zeit braucht, um das Besondere auf "Nausea" zu entdecken. 

Die beiden Singles "Breaking The Angle Against The Tide" und "Komorebi" sollen einen ersten Eindruck vermitteln:     




Auch die Kritiker sind sich über "Nausea" uneins, so dass hier die Meinungen von PopMatters (8 Punkte) und Pitchfork (5,8) gegenüber gestellt werden:

In these days of Soundcloud, YouTube, and single-song digital downloading, it’s a rare occurrence when an album can inspire such as great degree of trust in the listener. Though its subject matter is often delicate and its arrangements are often ornate, Nausea sounds so sure of itself, so utterly comfortable with where it’s at and what it’s about, it holds together in extraordinarily solid fashion. Several tracks have airy, vaguely Far Eastern melodies, while “Dwindle” features sitar-like guitar and what sounds like an Indian sarangi. But Nausea is not the sound of an artist trying to turn away from past success and be artsy and pretentious just for the sake of it. The moment the airy “Changing Faces” reaches a beautiful, Spanish-style strummed guitar interlude is when you fully realize Vallestaros and Craft Spells have completely and naturally transcended their bedroom-pop beginnings.
They haven’t completely abandoned perkiness, either. “Twirl” is a shimmering guitarscape whose sing-song chorus makes disaffection sound like a dizzying, life-affirming first crush, and even sneaks in a bit of distortion at the end. Lead single “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide”, the album’s only real uptempo number, swirls on a bed of strings and a pining, circular guitar riff that would make Johnny Marr proud.
The secret key to making this all work, though, is that Nausea overcomes the biggest weakness in Craft Spells’ previous work, one which was nearly crippling. That would be Vallesteros’ voice. It has been compared to Ian Curtis, but that was just a kind way of saying it was flat and off-key. Plus, it had none of the potential energy of Curtis’ brooding. When fronting plucky synth-pop, it just didn’t work. Here, though, Vallesteros is swathed in reverb, which works wonders. He also sings more confidently and melodically, lending his voice a certain soothing quality. You put a lot of stock in these songs because you, in turn, have confidence in the man who is singing them.

Craft Spells’ previous work wasn’t bad, but Nausea is such an unexpected metamorphosis that Vallesteros could just as well have changed the band name. Even in a crowded dreampop field, this is music to bask in, whatever you call it.
(PopMatters)

Nausea often sounds disembodied, as every instrument's given a glassy, shellacked quality. “Twirl” nearly achieves liftoff in its chorus before tapering off, lest it overheats and melts the surrounding coat. Nausea’s eerie sense of removal is most effective on the Elephant 6 reverie of “Komorebi”, which takes its title from a Japanese word that loosely translates to “when sunlight filters through the trees”. At its best, Nausea takes after “Komorebi” in evoking a feeling that doesn’t have an exact verbal equivalent while sounding anachronistic in a way that’s both unnerving and fascinating, like watching colorized black & white movie.
Elsewhere, the production and arrangements often have to compensate for the monochromatic songwriting. The conception of Nausea was delayed as Vallesteros battled writer’s block; after the release of 2012’s Gallery EP, the Stockton transplant became bored with guitar, intimidated by the Bay Area's focus on raw garage rock and hip-hop and paralyzed by his reliance on social media. These are topics that are ripe for exploration, of feeling displaced and connected at the same time.
And yet, while nearly every track on Nausea finds Vallesteros trying to grapple with these issues, he rarely wrenches out any insight or personal detail. Both plainspoken and vague, the lyrics of Nausea sound like the result of someone simply trying to overpower a mental deadlock.
(Pitchfork)

2 Kommentare:

Olly Golightly hat gesagt…

5,5 Punkte

Dirk hat gesagt…

So ein Plätschert-an-mir-vorbei-Album.

5,5 Punkte