Crushed Stars

We get a lot of records sent to us here at The A.V. Club, and a lot of it’s too good to ignore. In Playlisted, we spotlight new music that’s slightly off the beaten path.

Album: In The Bright Rain by Crushed Stars (out now on Simulacra)

Press play if you like: Murmuring vocals; pretty, blurry guitars; The Clientele; Felt; bands that sound like The Clientele and Felt

Some background: Ever since his 2001 debut Self Navigation, Dallas musician and producer Todd Gautreau has worked with essentially the same template: deliberate tempos, lightly strummed electric guitars, ethereal vocals, and lots and lots of reverb. In The Bright Rain doesn’t mess with the formula much, though Gautreau is sure to back up his ample supply of mesmerizing atmospherics with fully formed songs that justify comparisons to all the dream-pop guitar bands he’s alluding to. With its lightly bopping rhythms, gently rippling guitar line, and Gautreau’s mysterious-sounding vocal, “Copenhagen” exemplifies the strengths of In The Bright Rain: In short, it sounds an awful lot like the snail-paced guitar heroics of bands like The Clientele, Galaxie 500, and Felt without ripping them off outright. Gautreau doesn’t change up the tempos or instrumentation much over the course of In The Bright Rain—when he introduces some desolate piano sounds on the final two tracks, “House On The Hill” and “Take Flight,” it’s mildly shocking—but that’s not necessarily to the album’s detriment. In The Bright Rain is, first and foremost, a mood record, casting a hypnotic spell over 35 minutes with a strict yet bountiful set of sounds.

Try this: By the slow-mo standards of In The Bright Rain, “Brighter Now” is relatively upbeat, skipping along with a great, circular guitar hook and Gautreau’s ghostly vocals rising up toward the heavens.

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