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Picastro

Whore Luck

(Polyvinyl; US: 11 Sep 2007; UK: 15 Oct 2007)

The former band of Final Fantasy’s Owen Pallett continues to smoulder on in relative obscurity, though both he and Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu) contribute to the band’s third album—the latter on vocals on the closing track, a meditative and understated cover of the Fall’s “Older Lover”. Meditative and understated pretty much sums it up for Picastro’s style, which takes organic folk and extends it into impressionism and atmospherics with little regard for traditional structures or considerations like melody construction. It’s fine, because Liz Hysen, the main creative force behind the group, creates quite bewitching harmonic moods. A few of the instrumental tracks are so compelling you almost wish they’d been extended past their one-and-a-half or two-minute length, given vocals, and made into more extended songs. “Towtruck”, in particular, is a groaning, fuzzy wonder—it shifts with the wonky brilliance of a Maher Shalal Hash Baz improvisation. But the songs have plenty to offer on their own: “Hortur” floats on cello harmonics and acoustic guitars building to a soft confidence; “All Erase” begins totally static, Hysen’s voice shrouded in echoes, before expanding with a legato string accompaniment that slides into and out of dissonance. Some of the songs are a little bogged down by all this affect “In the Weeds” is, metaphorically, lost in the tall grass at the bottom of a wild garden. But at their best, Picastro do experimental gothic folk with a refreshing fluency that can be pretty thrilling.

Rating:

Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.


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