Nature Noir

Nature Noir

Brad Hargett seems to have lightened his cosmic load somewhat. In the past, his brooding, reverb-saturated voice felt like it was headed to the very depths of hell; on Nature Noir, he sounds slightly more resigned than damned. Crystal Stilts' darkly beautiful psych-rock and Hargett’s voice have always been a great match, and now—with just an occasional glimmer of something that feels like a more optimistic outlook—the Stilts' music might not even be a terribly wrong choice for a Monday morning. “Star Crawl” does indeed crawl, but through shimmering guitar notes dancing atop murky tremolos and flurries of strings. “Future Folklore” chugs and grooves through Velvets terrain, with Hargett’s voice sounding like a cryptic smile instead of a veiled snarl. Some tracks, like “Electrons Rising” and “Darken the Door,” creep and slink in gothic, voodoo-y splendor. Elsewhere, acoustic guitars partner with cellos, and a jangly gait bubbles atop a heavy, tribal floor tom. The band makes a point: nature isn't all rainbows and light. Sometimes it’s about dark and stormy nights.

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