Before Shannon Wright produced her relatively stark, introspective solo albums Flightsafety and Maps of Tacit, she created two beautiful, excellent albums with Crowsdell. The second album, Within the Curve of an Arm was to remain unreleased, seeing the light of day only as a bootleg. Dreamette is Crowsdell's debut full-length, and it's a stunning, accomplished mix of angular guitars, swirling melodies, and Wright's supremely confident vocals. Produced by Pavement's Stephen Malkmus, every track is infused with either an edgy moodiness or a sense of absolute euphoria. The jangling guitars of Wright, Paul Howell (bass), and Malkmus percolate and spiral endlessly, almost approaching the majesty of Television's Marquee Moon. Wright's vocals couldn't be more powerful; she seems to put her heart into every track. "Dee-Lovely" sounds like a cross between Pavement and Television with the bonus of the emotional, assured lyrics and vocal abilities of Wright. Whether traveling a quiet, delicate path on "Weak" or getting angry on "Tease," every song is an effective, infinitely compelling work of abstraction and musicianship. "Tease" contains lyrics relating to anatomy and sexuality that would sound awkward coming from 99% of the vocalists currently working, but Wright sets exactly the right tone of strength and self-confidence that makes the song evocative and powerfully effective. Laurie Anne Wall's tense drums on "Weak" and throughout the album give the music the backbone to solidify the album's genius. The way Wright attacks her guitar really must be heard to be believed; though it's an aggressive style, the result is quite calming. It's like a marathon runner sprinting the entire race. There's enough melody in every ten seconds of a Crowsdell song to fill another band's entire discography. The jangling guitars remain a constant element throughout Dreamette, but cellos, pianos, and Malkmus' perfect production provide ample variation to make the album a charmer through repeat listens. If there was ever a debut album that deserved a bigger audience and instant classic status, Crowsdell's Dreamette is it. At turns fierce, poetic, and fragile, Dreamette is, at every turn, incredible.
by Tim DiGravina