Tuesday, May 29, 2012

REVIEW: Craft Spells - Gallery EP

Craft Spells Gallery EP continues, rather than departs from, the sound featured on the band's 2011 debut, Idle Labor.  And that's fine with me.  There may come a time when Justin Vallesteros and his musical pals need to tweak their sound or direction to please themselves and their fans.  But at the moment, the template still delivers aural pleasure.

"Still Left With Me" begins  Gallery EP with a fast-paced, upbeat melody and an clean, effective hook.  Even Vallesteros' sometimes laconic baritone brims with life.  The track wouldn't be out of place in the New Order portfolio.

The second and third tracks, "Warmth" and "Burst", respectively, are aptly named.  The former conveys a Radio Dept. level of intimacy, while the latter is a pop song brimming with life.

As a whole, the EP is a high energy amalgamation of shimmering guitars and synths, and insistent rhythms.  The subtle differences from Idle Labor are improvements--more intricate, fleshed-out songs and, generally, a more upbeat vibe.  Even when Justin is gloomy, there is a danceability and undeniable vibrancy to this music.  If you already liked Craft Spells, you'll want to add this to your collection.  If you haven't tried them, this is a good place to start.

I understand that for purposes of composition, Vallesteros is Craft Spells.  For performances, the group is Vallesteros, Jack Doyle Smith, Javier Suarez and Andy Lum.  Most of the members are based in Seattle, but I recently read that Vallesteros is living in San Francisco at the moment.

Gallery EP was available May 15 on Captured Tracks.

Twitter ( @craft_spells )

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