Crushed Stars‘ album In the Bright Rain has been haunting me for past two months. Based on the music and the photo on the inner sleeve Todd Gautreau is a dour fellow, but he does dour with class. Gautreau who is 90% of Crushed Stars has created a low-key masterpiece that combines the melancholy bookishness of Lloyd Cole, the cascading guitars of Felt and the refined elegance of the Blue Nile.
He writes, sings and plays most everything except for drums where he employs the help Jeff Ryan of War on Drugs and St. Vincent. Using Ryan as the drummer makes this album sound less of a bedroom sad- fest and more like a wind swept, rain in your face travail. Every song is a slow gauzy veil that drapes itself over you as you listen. You try to doff each one but, they stay with you, their sadness and their delicate beauty.
Crushed Stars have been around for over 10 years (this is their 5th album) and Gautreau also records as Sonogram. In the Bright Rain is the acme of Gautreau’s career thus far. I have a few favorite songs on the record, but they change depending on my mood. Rays of them pass through and they glisten a little differently on every listen. It’s a record who’s stunning melancholy weaves its way into your conscious resulting in a sublime pleasure.
A big thanks to the fine folks at Austin Town Hall for writing about Crushed Stars a few months ago.