The Upshot: An eccentric album that will find its home with those who seek something creatively different in their music on a mellow, rainy day.
BY APRIL S. ENGRAM
Cross Record, husband-wife duo Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski, returns with their second album; following their 2013 debut Be Good, Wabi-Sabi continues in the same vein of hauntingly serene soundscapes. Cross’ airy, wispy vocals, that remain in the realm of a gentle whisper, add to the mellow, organic feel of the album. A quiet affair, acoustic guitar, the occasional buzz of an electric guitar or effects of a keyboard, and muted drums mostly comprise Wabi-Sabi.
Opening with “The Curtains Part” the off rhythm strumming of an acoustic guitar reminiscent of a spaghetti western that cuts in and out sets the tone to this distinctive album. Floating between folk and rock the atmospheric album has a penchant for melancholy as the often droning sounds—whether it be the slow hit of a repetitive tambourine and guitar strum as in “Wasp In A Jar” or oscillating effects as in “Lemon”—hypnotically draw you in. Reveling in the silences between notes, Wabi-Sabi does not aim to hit hard, instead the artistic album tensely remains below the line of escalation. The off-kilter, sometimes jarring sounds on tracks like “Wasp,” “Basket” add a layer of mystery to the unique record. “High Rise” is a song that could easily ascend into a hard driving rock song. The “heaviest” track includes the most drums and electric guitar compared to all others, instead the PJ Harvey-esque track, at only 2:33 minutes, ends on the plateau it reaches mid song.
Repetition and simplicity balance the sadly beautiful sounds on Wabi-Sabi; an eccentric album that will find its home with those who seek something creatively different in their music on a mellow, rainy day.
DOWNLOAD: “High Rise,” “Two Rings,” “Wasp In A Jar”