Crawling Up the Stairs
The title of this record is the perfect metaphor for Austin, TX band Pure X's evolving sound. On their great, though somewhat elusive, debut, Nate Grace's crooning vocals were buried under layers of ambient guitars. Here, they're slowly climbing out of the murk to take centre stage without abandoning the group's penchant for Galaxie 500-esque, floating vibes. The change is the product of a group finding their footing and playing to their strengths. Grace's voice fluctuates between a Jarvis Cocker speak-sing and soulful falsetto, creating tiny ambient pop masterpieces like the sublime "Someone Else" and the chiming "Thousand Year Old Child." Pure X were always a band with a distinct sonic template, but the haze was as much a mask as calling card. With Crawling Up the Stairs, the masks are off for the world to hear.
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