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written by Gary Pay

 

Since the success of debut album ‘Idle Labor’ in 2011 and the ‘Gallery EP’ in 2012, Justin Vallesteros, under the name Craft Spells, is finally back in 2014 with sophomore album ‘Nausea.’ He has recently moved to San Francisco but this new album takes us to somewhere else. While working on the album, Vallesteros decided to move to his parents’ in Lathrop and unplugged himself from
the internet to focus writing on these new songs.

Departing from the lo-fi sound we heard in Idle Labor, the album is a new breed of Craft Spells. Written entirely on piano, Vallesteros taught himself something new and brings us 11 songs that will make you rethink what Craft Spells is. Unlike the debut, there’s acoustic guitars, piano, and amazing orchestral arrangements. ‘Nausea’ is like taking a walk in the great outdoors, exploring what’s around you and discovering the things you never noticed.

The album starts off with the title track “Nausea.” Its chorus is memorizing and keeps you into the beat. It’s a great opener and makes you wonder what’s in store. “Komorebi” is the second single off the album and is absolutely charming. Translated from Japanese to English, “Komerebi” means “sunlight shining through the trees” and you definitely feel it with the percussion and the strings. “Changing Faces” keeps the album shining and “Instrumental” is a good break right before “Dwindle,” where the music goes into something you wouldn’t think of as Craft Spells yet still feels familiar. “Twirl” brings groovy vibes and its guitars make it a fun tune. “If I Could” changes it up with heavy beats and haunting vocals and strings that makes you feel like you’re talking a stroll in the rain. “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide”, the first single from the album, is absolutely beautiful;
it’s the best track on the album and Vallesteros’ choice of making it near the end is genius. “Still Fields (October 10, 1987)” brings the album to a blissful closing and reminds you that nature is a thing that shouldn’t be given up for memes and messages boards.

Overall, the album is an amazing work of art and it challenges the thought of a future without people knowing what it’s like outside. ‘Nausea’ is beautiful all throughout and Vallesteros brings us an album that is enjoyable and unique to the ears.

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