KCRW’s Album Previews — helmed by Eric J. Lawrence — offer a chance to hear new album releases in their entirety each week, prior to and just after release.
Diverse sounds, from sampled beats to kalimba, coalesce around crafty melodies throughout this debut recording. Assisted by members of Polica and Atmosphere, Newes and Kelly strike new ground with songs like the signature track, “Samana,” which have a vaguely international flavor, much like artists like Vampire Weekend or Tune-Yards. But it is a sound of their own: modest, but memorable, and with enough nooks and crannies to reward repeat listens.
“Gunk of Stars” aims for the heavens with its bright vocal hook, while “Gadesco” inspires with the melancholy of standing on an empty shore. The album came together by combining the best elements of a live performance of the songs with his sometimes Brazos bandmates with a demo version cobbled together at home, making for a record that retains the intimacy of a true solo record while allowing for big vistas and even bigger themes.