The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Crushed Stars: In the bright rain (2012)

En esta ocasión no me he dejado llevar por la portada del disco, como me ocurrió tiempo atrás, cuando descubrí a Crushed Stars (TJB, Septiembre 2011). La cuestión es que la música de Todd Gautreau (aka. Crushed Stars) en este ya su quinto álbum continúa en la misma línea, es decir: algo cercano al Post-Rock lleno de ambientes y algún que otro ramalazo eléctrico que desde luego nunca sale a relucir en forma de distorsión o de algo que tenga que ver con la iracundia o con lo que entiendo como el sentimiento. Antes al contrario, ambientes demasiado relajados, mucho envoltorio alrededor de las parsimoniosas composiciones, voces que se pierden entre ecos y efectos, y desde luego mucha, mucha calma. Interesante para los oídos ávidos de sensaciones placenteras, amantes del Dream-Pop y del Drone. Para The JangleBox resulta un disco demasiado relajado, en todas sus acepciones.

Crushed Stars – In the bright rain (2012)

“Todd Gautreau, the mastermind behind the indie outfit Crushed Stars, has a tremendous talent for creating lush, intricate, and sonically fascinating instrumental accompaniments for his songs. “Copenhagen”, from the band’s new album, In the Bright Rain, opens with a clean, hypnotic, syncopated guitar riff, which lesser musicians might have been content to repeat ad-nauseum. Instead, Gautreau adds two guitar counter melodies, each interlocking to create a dreamy backdrop under which a silky smooth bassline wanders, providing more than just harmonic support. In this way, Crushed Stars makes atmospheric music that many contemporary indie artists can’t, without the use of heavy drones, synths, and ambient noise.
Gautreau’s insistent use of heavy vocal filters, however, masks not only the lyrics, but also the fact that he sings quite well. Caught somewhere between Matt Berninger of The National and the bass-y, “Everybody Knows”-era Leonard Cohen, Gautreau’s voice is so suffocated with reverb here that it sounds distant and incongruous. On “Bedtime for Dreamers”, where he’s going for dreamy and detached, it sounds more tired and severed. This sound is de riguer for Crushed Stars, as evidenced by their 2010 release, Convalescing in Braille. Maybe they should ease off a touch, as suggested by Gautreau’s vocal performance with closer-to-normal levels of reverb on the penultimate track, “Take Flight”.
Despite the cold vocal ambiance, these songs radiate with a warmth and intimacy from their thickly textured arrangements, part of  Gautreau’s attempt to “make a more optimistic record.“ On “Brighter Now”, the electric guitars are lively, the acoustic guitars are homey, the bass is round and comforting, the drums are mellow but keep up a moderate tempo, and Gautreau’s voice has a certain sincerity — that is, when it peeks out from behind its echo-soaked veil enough to offer up a lyric” (

Facebook / Cómpralo-Purchase

24 abril, 2012 Posted by | Crushed Stars | 1 comentario

Crushed Stars: Convalescing in braille (2010)

No hace mucho descrubrí en uno de mis viajes blogueros un disco con una portada que para mí era una auténtica delicia. En la foto se mostraban, entre otros artilugios, dos modelos de guitarras de doce cuerdas, una de ellas una Rickenbacker junto con un ampli Vox y otro Fender Twin Reverb. Reconozco que no conocía al grupo, pero con esos antecedentes nada de su contenido podría ser malo. Pues vaya equivocación. Primero porque los protagonistas en la música de Crushed Stars no son precisamente las guitarras. Segundo porque hacía tiempo que no me aburría tanto con un disco. Bien, no soy muy fan del Post-Rock ni del Drone ni de esa onda Folkie pseudo electrónica que últimamente es tan protagonista, pero la música de Crushed Stars no me ha llegado en ningún momento. Para ser sinceros, la idea del disco es bastante homogénena (es su cuarto álbum, madurez no les falta), moviéndose más o menos en esos estilos mencionados con cierta soltura, pero las composiciones son tan endebles, la voz de Todd Gautreau es tan sumamente personal, su ambiente taciturno se transforma a la larga en plúmbeo que, sinceramente, no le he dedicado demasiadas escuchas. Ah!, volví a caer en la vieja tentación de dejarme llevar por una portada.

Crushed Stars – Convalescing in braille (2010)

“Although the style stays right on track with his previous work, Gautreau has managed to maintain attention with his murmured words and cushioned choruses. He has brought back Jeff Ryan’s percussion to support his saturated-yet-simplified group of songs. (It’s also a good move because Ryan plays with Sarah Jaffe and Pleasant Grove.) There are only two songs where extra hands were brought on, proving Gautreau’s hard work.
Most of the songs flow together, creating a same-minded theme of quieted, yet detailed rock. “Technicolor” and “Frost on Wires” jump out as the new guys, changing up the tempo and accompanied instruments. “Technicolor” distances Gautreau’s voice, as if he is set back from the microphone. The guitar strums are significantly faster and more apparent, helping to lighten the mood and add some cheer. “Frost on Wires” incorporates the piano in a varied sense, by bringing it front and center. If this were a speedier album, “Frost on Wires” would be the ballad. Full of soul and pain, this track shows the rawness with which Gautreau works best.
The only factor missing from this well-composed album is the “99 Red Balloons” cover the band pursued earlier this year. It was a valiant success from Portland, Ore., all the way to our home station 91.7 KXT. Crushed Star’s website offers a free copy of it if you pre-order the album, but it would have fit nicely on the album (

Facebook / Cómpralo-Get it

16 septiembre, 2011 Posted by | Crushed Stars | 1 comentario


A %d blogueros les gusta esto: