Please donate to help save PopMatters. We are moving to WordPress in January out of necessity and need your help.
Music

Craft Spells: Gallery

Matthew Fiander

It's a shame Justin Vallesteros went back to recording solo, because touring showed us that he plays best when he plays with others.


Craft Spells

Gallery

US Release: 2012-05-15
Label: Captured Tracks
UK Release: 2012-05-14
Artist Website
Label Website
Amazon
iTunes

Justin Vallesteros found success with his first Craft Spells record, 2011's Idle Labor, but the album truly came alive when he assembled a band to take it on the road. There, the gauzy pop that sounds so in-line with other home-recording artists today, took on its own personality. So it's puzzling that, for the follow-up EP Gallery, Vallesteros has gone back to recording by himself. The elements remain the same -- the guitar tones melt into near shapelessness, keys cut coldly through the haze with hooks, and Vallesteros's echo-treated groan hovers between the two. If the songs can be solid -- opener "Still Left With Me" is a catchy smudge of sounds, and "Sun Trails" clears up his sound to crisp effect -- they also feel like not enough. What really undersells these songs is the lack of a true rhythm section. Basic drum machine beats and nothing other than the most rudimentary bass lines fill out these songs and leave them feeling thin and flat. At nearly five minutes, "Warmth" wears out its welcome and floats away on its own airy excess, while the title track has the same problem finding footing. It's too bad really; the true idle work came out on Gallery, because touring showed us that Vallesteros plays best when he plays with others.

5

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Film


Books


Television




© 1999-2020 PopMatters Media, Inc. All rights reserved. PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.






Features
Collapse Expand Features



Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.