Abe Vigoda: Crush

B-

Abe Vigoda

Album: Crush
Label: Post Present Medium
B-

Abe Vigoda

Album: Crush
Label: Post Present Medium

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The silly “tropical punk” tag that got stuck to Abe Vigoda’s 2007 breakthrough album, Skeleton, often gets justified via some dissection of the disc’s loping, liquid rhythms. Really, though, the young California band was able to make its guitars ping and shimmer like steel drums—a gorgeous quality that Abe Vigoda has steered well clear of on Skeleton’s follow-up, Crush. Crush is gorgeous in its own way: Building off last year’s surprisingly dark Reviver EP, the new full-length is lacerated by shadows and shards of glass, and shrouded in a distance and coldness that can’t be called anything but goth. That retroactive atmosphere works on tracks like “November,” which smothers a haunting pop melody under a shoegaze pillow-fight; it fails on “Dream Of My Love (Chasing After You),” a crooning emulation of The Cure that includes a fake British accent somewhere between Robert Smith’s and, weirdly enough, Edywn Collins’. Perhaps in an attempt to retreat as far from tropics as possible, Abe Vigoda has turned to a frigid approximation of ’80s darkwave melodrama. In spite of the impeccable songcraft and sinewy playing, though, Crush hits a few too many icebergs.

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