Music Park: Craft Spells @ Comet Ping Pong — 3/10/15

Craft Spells by Greg Barnes
Craft Spells (Photo by Greg Barnes)

In 2010, Justin Vallesteros released his first song “Party Talk” as Craft Spells, recording the lo-fi single on his own.

The song is pleasing, straightforward number expressing sentiment of a desire for something more out of a chance meeting.

“Is this new? ‘cause I’m falling for you/
This better not be party talk”

The lovelorn lyrics represent an attempt at identification with the rest of humanity in general and a pretty girl in particular. Fast forward to 2014, and Craft Spells have released their second full-length LP, Nausea — the title track of which almost seems to reference the 1938 Jean-Paul Sartre novel of the same name!

“Nausea/
You’ve kept youself away from everyone you used know/
Nausea/
You brought yourself here now everybody’s gonna know”

That’s quite a change in perspective! But this slight disdain for humanity plays out against a backdrop of instrumentation that brings you peace and happiness, as if you were afloat on a gentle pond in pleasant climes.

And so between the songs, and the rest of the Craft Spells’ live catalog, there is a great deal of consistency found through a sprinkling of glittery disco throughout the live setlist, as demonstrated in the band’s sold-out show at Comet Ping Pong in Washington, DC, Tuesday night.

Watch an acoustic performance of “Nauseau” from Pandora’s White Board Sessions.

The sensation of being apart from humanity while listening to pleasing synthpop continues in other selections from Nausea, including “Komorebi,” a title taken from “sunlight that filters through trees.” The lyrics discuss death and loneliness, but the lush, lazy music evokes thoughts of strolling through those showers of sunlight with pine needles or flower petals under your feet.

Humble and modest, Vallesteros is an unassuming frontman. Traveling with a host of bands from Seattle (including top act La Lux), Craft Spells, however, got the room dancing, even though the audience were packed into the concert stage of the pizza parlor shoulder-to-shoulder. Vallesteros was pleased with what he saw, and called out his thanks to DC crowds for the previous six or seven times his band has played in our city.

Craft Spells continue their tour tomorrow night in Philadelphia before going on to New York and the Midwest on their way back to Seattle. The band’s show offers you a chance to reflect on your own feelings with regard to other people while shuffling your feet — two distinct yet cathartic activities!

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