11 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Craft Spells' 2011 debut, Idle Labor, was a solid amalgam of airspun, gossamer pop tunes that stayed threaded, grounded, and in your head for days. Where things could have floated away, they stayed anchored, but with plenty of dreamspace leeway in the ether. Nausea follows suit, and some songs—like “Changing Faces” and “Twirl” (with its fabulous keyboard sounds)—bop and frolic like ’60s Merseybeat tunes, though still wrapped in a hazy shimmer. This time out, Justin Paul Vallesteros is writing with more focus in terms of pop constructs, letting instruments stand out in his sonic echo chamber. Piano is an essential underpinning on many numbers, such as the sun-dappled “Komorebi” and the charming “Dwindle.” Strings are essential to others, like the sultry “If I Could” and the surprisingly robust and propulsive “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide.” The guitars are both more lush and precise, and Vallesteros’ vocals are just a whisper stronger than in the past, and that's just enough. In essence, Nausea has a shade more clarity across the spectrum, and it shows Vallesteros on very solid ground with his beautiful pop visions.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Craft Spells' 2011 debut, Idle Labor, was a solid amalgam of airspun, gossamer pop tunes that stayed threaded, grounded, and in your head for days. Where things could have floated away, they stayed anchored, but with plenty of dreamspace leeway in the ether. Nausea follows suit, and some songs—like “Changing Faces” and “Twirl” (with its fabulous keyboard sounds)—bop and frolic like ’60s Merseybeat tunes, though still wrapped in a hazy shimmer. This time out, Justin Paul Vallesteros is writing with more focus in terms of pop constructs, letting instruments stand out in his sonic echo chamber. Piano is an essential underpinning on many numbers, such as the sun-dappled “Komorebi” and the charming “Dwindle.” Strings are essential to others, like the sultry “If I Could” and the surprisingly robust and propulsive “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide.” The guitars are both more lush and precise, and Vallesteros’ vocals are just a whisper stronger than in the past, and that's just enough. In essence, Nausea has a shade more clarity across the spectrum, and it shows Vallesteros on very solid ground with his beautiful pop visions.

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