Craft Spells – Idle Labour (Captured Tracks)
March 13, 2011 by Daniel Gill
As spring approaches and cracks of sunshine slowly seep through the clouds, Seattle based Indie-Pop band Craft Spells attempt to bring the sun out with the help of their radiant debut release, Idle Labour.
The album kicks off slowly with ‘For the ages’, a haunting opener with chimes that provide a ghoulish quality thanks to the amount of reverb added to them. This sound is complimented by lead singer Julian Ballesteros vocals, as he tranquilizes the track with his soothing tones.
However, the vocals throughout the album will provide a Marmite view for a lot of listeners. They seem to drift from the dreamy, floating tones of ‘Scandinavian Crush’ to a song like ‘Ramona’ where they are hazy and obscured by a constant synthesized church organ.
When drowned out by the electronic synth sounds, Ballesteros occasionally sounds like an unclear and mundane version of Morrissey. The heavy reverb which seems to be added to the vocals on every song does not help matters and they sometimes spoils the more uplifting tracks, such as ‘You Should Close The Door’.
However, on the other end of the musical spectrum the vocals go down very well. ‘Party Talk’, like many other tracks on the album, has a tropical beach party vibe to it, with drums that sound like they belong in a South American Mardi Gras festival. The cheerful, spindly guitar riff adds to the summerlike tone of the song, which allows the melancholic sounds of Ballesteros to ghost through the track graciously.
The album flourishes with Dream-Pop songs about romanticism and relationships; a formula which becomes embedded into the release and somewhat shortens the range of lyrical creativity. With the lyrical content seemingly insignificant, it’s the perky guitar playing and laptop constructed beats and synths that really shine through and make this a sparkling debut.
There are times when the vocals do sound gloomy and layered with unnecessary effects, but fortunately the sun stays out for the whole duration making Idle Labour a debut album with moments of dazzling quality.