April 26, 2011

Craft Spells :: Idle Labor

Every time I glance at the album artwork for Craft Spell's debut LP Idle Labor, I'm immediately reminded of the classic cover for New Order's Power, Corruption & Lies. English artist Peter Saville adorned the 1983 cover with a reproduction of "A Basket of Roses" by French painter Henri Fantin-Latour and a color-based code to represent the band's name and album title. On Idle Labor, a pastel colored bouquet of flowers clearly pays homage to both New Order and the band's then Factory Records home, but perhaps by being photographed through a window, the flowers appear blurred with movement from reflections of light.

Perhaps that's also the best way to understand Craft Spells, the project of Stockton, California's Justin Vallesteros: an artist filtering his adoration for New Wave music through his own personal and nostalgic lens. Vallesteros's vocals here take into account both the low tone of Ian Curtis, the more cheerful highs of Bernard Summer, and the occasional pinch of distortion to produce a steady and subtle command of his songs. Instrumentally, Craft Spells bypasses excessive electronic flourishes for a bass, drum, and guitar centered sound, recalling early New Order highlights like "Age of Consent" and "Leave Me Alone."

Craft Spells may not be wholly original, but there's also something charming about an artist so directly, openly, and honestly shedding light on his influences. As a whole, Idle Labor's 11 songs are absurdly consistent in delivery and execution, never missing a beat or opportunity to deliver a fearsome hook. Whether taking it slow on the night-covered stroll "The Fog Rose High" or exuberant and celebratory on "After The Moment" and the playful "You Should Close The Door," Vallesteros appears a veteran unquestionably in control of his chosen medium.

Purchase the LP now directly from Captured Tracks.

Craft Spell - "You Should Close The Door" (from Idle Labor)
Craft Spell - "Party Talk" (from Idle Labor)

Craft Spells

1 comment:

  1. New clip available, check it, it' good: http://vocododo.blogspot.com/2011/10/craft-spells-your-tomb.html