24-year-old Californian singer-songwriter Angelo de Augustine is releasing his second full-length, Swim Inside the Moon, on Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty Records, with a Stevens-directed music video for "Crazy, Stoned, & Gone" accompanying.
De Augustine's delicate, whimsical voice and lo-fi but plucky nylon-stringed guitar evokes Devendra Banhart's early-to-mid-'00s work (the hand-drawn cover art fits too), but where some of Banhart's songs had a creepier edge to them, Swim Inside the Moon is dreamy, sweet and light.
That's not to say the songs are without quirk. "Truly Gone" has a steady pulse, but the bar lengths shift around, making it enjoyably irregular, while "More Than You Thought to Use" is weirded up by an alien synth burble that quietly complements the song without distracting. On the other hand, there are also glimmers of pop sensibility here: "Haze" flaunts a hooky chorus of "Could you be my love?" aided by repetition and a nice melodic contour. The harmonic motion in "Fade," meanwhile, demonstrates some nice Elliott Smith influence.
With two song titles related to dreaming and others including "Fade," "Haze" and the aforementioned "Crazy, Stoned, & Gone," it's clear this record is intended to be far more relaxing than revolutionary. If hippie-ish comfort is what you seek, take a Swim Inside the Moon. (Asthmatic Kitty)