Having moved beyond the personal tumult that led him to create 2014’s Americana-leaning EP, Mesocyclone, Texas singer/songwriter Nicholas Altobelli returns to his roots with Searching Through That Minor Key. While the former’s changing weather patterns remain, the latter trades summer’s immediacy for lingering memories that span seasons (“Pile of Leaves” and “Dogwood”) and years (“Sarah”).
Highlighted with pink, green and umber arrangements and the aw-shucks ease of Altobelli’s delivery, the lullaby feel of Searching Through That Minor Key on the happy-go-lucky “In the Morning” and rambling “In Your Arms” often hides dark sorrow and shades of gray that lurk on the album’s most personal moments: the sullen “Painted Airplanes” and piano ballad “Alabaster”.
Written after 2013’s Without a Home and temporarily shelved for Mesocyclone, the pop-inspired songs of Searching Through That Minor Key are the work of an artist unchallenged. Sticky with studio fondant, Searching Through That Minor Key lacks the raw emotional attachment of Altobelli’s prior poetic work.