Red Your Blues

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At the risk of adding to a mountain of rock clichés, Picastro's sound is dark and brooding, and takes its time to unfold. The band is an expansion of an original solo project from Toronto guitarist/vocalist Liz Hysen. Virtually everything revolves around Hysen's fragile vocal parts, and when you listen carefully it becomes pretty apparent that, despite possible comparisons with post-rock darlings like Godspeed You Black Emperor! or Mogwai, Picastro is a much more restrained project, with string accompaniment adding anchor rather than bombast. It's not an album for casual listening, though: Hysen's vocals are so tentative in places that they almost beckon you to get more fully involved in the listening process. It's a beautiful car crash of an album, simultaneously pretty and dissonant, and utterly compelling no matter how jarring it gets. The beautiful minimalist handmade packaging included only adds to the feeling of intimacy.

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