A few years ago, if someone had presented me with such floral cover art I almost certainly would have balked at reviewing the content, but oh how times have changed. Nowadays, such a bouquet is a sure fire indicator of a record almost certain to contain a lovely collection of American lo-fi dream pop. Craft Spells hail from Stockton, California (not ‘-on-Tees’, unfortunately) and are signed to an all too familiar label to those regular crumble browsers, Captured Tracks.
Although their sound is similar to stable mates (and crumble favourites) Beach Fossils, Craft Spells manage to find an odd kind of twee C86 charm to their tracks to replace the formers’ surf style. Lead singer Justin Vallesteros’ vocals have more than a touch of 80s Manchester to them (have a listen to ‘Party Talk’), and may well be why one critic referred to their sound as ”think Factory if it had opened an office off Venice beach”. Maybe if Factory had sent The Happy Mondays to California instead of Jamaica, they would have produced something similarly as dreamy and Factory wouldn’t have gone under. Probably not, afterall there is still plenty or crack in the Golden State.[audio http://home.comcast.net/~finestkiss3/chansons/CraftSpells-AftertheMoment.mp3]
Craft Spells – After The Moment
The essence of the album is a juxtaposition of minimal 80s Balearic beats and the jangling guitars of twee indie pop creating chilled out dance tracks that you barely have to actually dance to. For those who have a massive phobia of large open parquet or titled surfaces like myself, fear not.[audio http://www.box.net/shared/static/4yzd2cgx2u.mp3]
Craft Spells – From The Morning Heat[audio http://mp3.imposemagazine.com/Craft-Spells_Ramona.mp3]
Craft Spells – Ramona
If you’re looking for a soundtrack to your next chilled out sunny afternoon hanging out with some attractive people, drinking some attractive cocktails, next to an attractive looking infinity pool and want to avoid the temptation of ‘Club Tropicana’, then I can offer no better remedy than half an hour of ‘Idle Labor’. It is literally what I do every day (the idle labor part, not hanging out in pools with George Michael).[audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/8263510/jouissance%20mixes/jan%2011/02%20Party%20Talk.mp3]
Craft Spells – Party Talk
You can purchase the album here.