Crushed Stars | Gossamer Days

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cd_crushed-stars.jpgIn the album opener, Gautreau's voice sounds like a downtrodden Morrissey on a lazy day off, timidly bellowing personal thoughts through a tunnel of reverb.







Gossamer Days is Crushed Stars' (aka Todd Gautreau) third full-length effort. With it, Gautreau continues to hone his brand of polite indie-rock, recording with Stuart Sikes (Cat Power). It's the sort of album that starts in the background of a relaxing day, and seeps through the cracks of scattered attentions, attaching itself with careful guitar hooks and an absolutely pleasant mood. This album is a contradiction: dense and delicate, minimal and complicated, atmospheric and striking; It bends the singer-songwriter genre with spatial colorings and patient unraveling.

Minimal percussion and strings compositions are showcased in the album's sixth track, "Amherst Incident," where they support Gautreau's velveteen vocals. Taylor Reed delicately joins in during the chorus, paralleling the male-female juxtaposition on Bonnie ‘Prince' Billy's "The Letting Go," but unlike the Bonnie record, Reed avoids getting into the eyelid-dropping lulls that plague its musical cousin. Gautreau's words have a lamenting immediacy. He sings like a man of experience, delicately whispering ideas not in hope of their vicarious animation, they but as a means to illuminate a world of previous senselessness. In one such moment, Gautreau and Reed sing, "We could fill their swimming pools with all tomorrow's tears/ We could drink them in winter and then watch the cracks appear."

Gautreau's voice is the most striking part of Crushed Stars. The slick but unimpressive guitar work subtly plays up his rich voice. In the album opener, Gautreau's voice sounds like a downtrodden Morrissey on a lazy day off, timidly bellowing personal thoughts through a tunnel of reverb.

In a display of diversity, the album does have its ambient moment in "Snow Day," providing a Brian Eno-influenced instrumental track. A beautiful Rhodes piano plays a scattered melody over a pulsing traditional piano. Layers of heavy reverb and guitar ambience flow in and out toward the end of the song, leaving behind visions of cascading white puffs trickling down from the heavens.

In a tired genre of singer-songwriter, Crushed Stars manages to fins its own niche, using elements of ambience, carefully delivered vocals, and thoughtful lyrics. Gossamer Days is one of the budding year's highlights and is something to look out for. A | Glen Elkins

RIYL: Nick Drake, The Sea and Cake

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