Crushed Stars Convalescing In Braille

The last Crushed Stars album was a little bit of a curveball, in that it was more in line with Todd Gautreau's electronic project, Sonogram, with its ambient soundscapes. But album number five, Convalescing In Braille, sees him shifting focus back to the sound that defined his first pair of releases. The pace is slowed down to a near-crawl and there's fragility in the mood he creates, often just with guitar and voice. There isn't much unexpected about the album for anybody who's crossed paths with Crushed Stars, but that isn't a bad thing. Gautreau's melancholy sketches drift along with no sense of urgency, anchored by his gentle vocals; it is all very hypnotic and pretty. He knows his strengths and sticks with them, refusing to wander too far from the template that's served him well. Fortunately, Convalescing In Braille has an aching loveliness about it that more than makes up for its lack of surprises. (Simulacra)