Craft Spells, ‘Nausea’ (Captured Tracks)
Apparently Justin Paul Vallesteros hates that his band, Craft Spells, is often described as dreamy — so much so that he added a frosty crispness to its sophomore album, “Nausea.”. Though it does little to eliminate the dream-pop vibe, the overall result is a tighter collection of songs than on “Idle Labor,” his 2011 debut album.
Vallesteros, born in Seattle (where his bandmates Javier Suarez, Nicholas Robins, Cameron Spencer Case and Brock Lowry live) and currently spending most of his time in San Francisco, was mired in writer’s block and headed to his parents’ house in Lathrop, California, to get a fresh start. Part of that fresh start was deciding to write on a piano instead of the guitar and the effects can be heard throughout “Nausea.”
The album starts out strong with its title track and “Komorebi,” which reveal Vallesteros’ lush, meandering approach, but, unfortunately, as with so much bedroom pop, Vallesteros has trouble building momentum. There are plenty of standout tracks, like the jaunty “Twirl” and the album’s best song, “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide,” but song-to-song things tend to run together.
Other new releases
Diane Schuur, “I Remember You” (Jazzheads)
Rose Windows, “There is a Light” and “Fix Me,” vinyl single (Sub Pop)
Jack White, “Lazaretto” (Columbia)