​Exclaim!'s Staff Picks: Angelo De Augustine Takes Himself Out of Reality on 'Toil and Trouble'

BY Allie GregoryPublished Jul 7, 2023

Angelo De Augustine wrote, arranged, recorded, produced and mixed his fourth studio album, Toil and Trouble, himself, employing 27 different instruments — including, apparently, a xylophone made of glass. I'm pretty sure that's what we hear on "Home Town," a fitting proof-of-concept for a paradoxically whimsical album charting the strife of existing in the modern world; its opening track is about a mass shooting that happened near his former residence.

As the singer-songwriter tells it: while writing the album, he had to "take [himself] out of reality in order to try to understand reality." From alien abductions to Peter Pan and Christopher Robin, De Augustine digs deep into these "counter-worlds" with a delicate hand — not unlike how he handled the fictional worlds dissected with Sufjan Stevens on 2021's A Beginner's Mind

De Augustine's signature falsetto rings throughout, with standouts "Another Universe," "The Ballad of Better and Barney Hill" and the title track drifting into hazy yet cinematic territory. 

(Asthmatic Kitty)

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