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Craft Spells new LP ‘Nausea’ has arrived amongst a busy week of new album releases (including newies by The Fresh & Onlys, Stagnant Pools, Vaniish and Towns). Lead single ‘Breaking The Angle Against The Tide‘ arrived in March and revealed the quartet’s progression since their 2011 debut ‘Idle Labor’. The Craft Spells sound has been fleshed out with added instruments. It’s a much more natural and “live” approach than their 2012 EP ‘Gallery’. The second single ‘Komorebi’ confirmed this with orchestral sounds, a twist on their jangle pop debut. But is it an improvement?

This is the first time the San Francisco-based band have recorded with a full line-up in a studio with a producer in tow. So there’s more polish, the production is a big step up, no question. ‘Nausea’ was conceived on piano by front man Justin Paul Vallesteros and there’s a lot of beautiful sounds on the record. Thankfully, there’s also a lot of reverb too! But sadly, the translation from the piano to the finished product lacks some lustre. There isn’t really enough songwriting weight or ideas to justify the elaborate production gloss. The simple melodies worked well enough on the lo-fi sounding ‘Idle Labor’, it matched the style of songwriting so why switch? As the saying goes “less is more”.

That said, there are some strong moments beyond the stand out singles. ‘Twirl’ is a fun twee pop tune that doesn’t take itself so seriously and ‘Laughing For My Life’ has some unpredictable twists. Overall, it’s worth the ride for existing fans but is unlikely to convince many new ones. ‘Nausea’ is available now via Captured Tracks.

Visit Craft Spells @ Captured Tracks @ Facebook.

Craft Spells - 'Nausea'
Sound & Production
Reverb Rating
  • Strong singles
  • Well crafted production
  • Lacks songwriting depth
3.4Overall Score
Reader Rating: (6 Votes)

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