Angelo De Augustine
Tomb


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
January 11th, 2019 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Confronting demons with whispers.

On Tomb, Angelo De Augustine confronts demons with whispers. It’s an album that packs huge emotions into a small space; this isolated bubble where De Augustine exhales life-altering heartbreak into the air around him. It’s also an intensely personal record…listeners are less “consumers” and more lifelong friends, sitting in Angelo’s living room as he confides in us through song. It’s a delicate, weighty experience that is impossible to ignore despite the hushed atmosphere.

Sound familiar?It should. De Augustine wears his influences on his sleeve, as an Asthmatic Kitty Records signee who now seems to be aspiring for his very own Carrie & Lowell. Anyone who is a fan of Stevens will immediately be able to connect the dots – from the muted vocal melodies to the elegant piano lines/echoed acoustic plucks that, while minimally composed, seem capable of ringing out across the entire globe. Think of De Augustine versus Stevens as the S. Carey to Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver. It’s almost a master-apprentice relationship, and just as Vernon’s fingerprints can be found all over S. Carey’s output, Stevens has worked closely with De Augustine. As a result, the two find their works overlapping on several fronts, including a well-known live rendition of one of Tomb’s lead singles, ‘Time.’ This hardly diminishes the beauty that overflows out of Tomb, but it’s worth pointing out the reason behind such transparent similarities.

If Carrie & Lowell was an album about the consequences of death – specifically in reckoning with the departure of Stevens’ estranged mother at the precise moment that she resurfaced in his life – then Tomb represents the severed relationship side of the same coin. Take the following passage for example, lifted right from the album’s eponymous opening track: “I felt your heart beat as you pressed your chest hard against me / It was not of this world or of a dream, for the first time someone else loved me.” This record deals primarily with lost love, specifically through the lens of someone who hardly knew what it felt like to begin with. To endure such a long period of time searching, yearning for love – only to have it ripped away from you as soon as it’s introduced into your life – is almost unbearable to imagine. Those are the kind of tragically romantic songs that populate Tomb – a collage of bittersweet memories; odes to an attraction all too fleeting.

For all that will be said about De Augustine’s stylistic intersection with his contemporaries, it’s worth noting the quantum leap in production and songwriting that occurred between 2017’s Swim Inside The Moon and this year’s Tomb. Teaming up with Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) has lifted his sound from that of a bedroom artist to one that sounds immaculate and pristine, as if someone took his musical product and gave it a good dusting. This new glimmering Angelo has also produced a more confident songwriter, with tracks that assert their hooks and melodies boldly while also going through multiple transformations. The way ‘Tide’, for instance, evolves from pastoral/free-flowing acoustics to rhythmic strumming (a mere drum beat away from turning into an all-out stomper, really) is particularly impressive. These are embellishments we would not have witnessed from De Augustine years ago, when his entire approach was more timid.

What we end up with here is Angelo De Augustine’s most brazen step forward to date. Tomb sees him not buried, but bursting forth with flourishing atmospheres. By nature his music is still very soft-spoken – almost Elliott Smith-like in that regard – but this is no longer the crackly, static-bound lo-fi songwriter that gave us Spirals of Silence and Swim Inside The Moon. I’d liken it to the way that Sam Beam made huge strides on Our Endless Numbered Days after the sparse The Creek Drank the Cradle. This is definitely not the best that we will get from De Augustine – there’s a whole lot more that can be experimented with in terms of tempo and variation – but that’s still a prospect that should keep us happily anchored in this stunning present time – with one eye glued, eagerly, to his very promising future.




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user ratings (18)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
January 11th 2019


29220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Found my first great album of 2019:

https://angelodeaugustine.bandcamp.com/album/tomb

Digging: James Blake - Assume Form

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2019


2716 Comments


Ooo, I did not know this was coming out. Great review, too, so excited.

Digging: Pedro the Lion - Phoenix

Atari
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2019


24088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Loved the review and glad you went with that rating. not regretting my 4 at all after the first few spins

Digging: Japandroids - Celebration Rock

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 11th 2019


29220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Thanks, you both. Yeah I was wary of overrating it but it's only gotten better the more I listen to it. It's still no Sufjan, but it's damn nice regardless.

Gyromania
January 11th 2019


26490 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

played the song before reading your review and was like 'oh cool a new sufjan stevens project' lol

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 11th 2019


29220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

That's basically what this amounts to. It's Sufjan worship that isn't quite as good (like, obviously) which is why it's not a 4.5 or a 5...but it's still excellent. A little samey and the lyrics are lacking at certain points but otherwise it's vocally/musically gorgeous.

Gyromania
January 11th 2019


26490 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah i could see that, a few songs in and it's a bit samey. i feel like sufjan cleverly sidesteps that, somehow.



you needed love, i needed you is really fucking good

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 12th 2019


29220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Tomb and Tide are my favorites thus far, but that track is easily top 5 for me as well

robin
Emeritus
January 12th 2019


4542 Comments


on first listen kind of bummed out by this

that last record was so so special so hoping this one comes round

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 12th 2019


29220 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

I kind of figured you might struggle to like this. I saw your glowing review of their last record and this is a major refinement production-wise, so it doesn't have that same raw/lo-fi appeal.

robin
Emeritus
January 12th 2019


4542 Comments


idk the production is fine. just feels like he spread himself very thin w his arrangement ideas. im sure i’ll fall for it at some point

McTime50
January 12th 2019


720 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

always appreciate more SufjanStevensCore, god knows I was looking for it when I got into Carrie and Lowell

Anthracks
January 12th 2019


6267 Comments


something this derivative can't have any value

Gyromania
January 12th 2019


26490 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is nice but i'm in agreement with robin. not a lot worth returning to. nothing bad here though and a couple great tunes

luci
January 12th 2019


10559 Comments


you should check his last one gyro. bet you'll dig it more

IAMERROR
January 12th 2019


323 Comments


Kind of a one-dimensional album, esp. the singing.

Winesburgohio
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2019


2430 Comments


idk i'm not feeling the magic on this one, but Carrie and Lowell took about three spins and this album seems closer to that ilk of folk than Swim so

Digging: Angelo De Augustine - Tomb

Winesburgohio
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2019


2430 Comments


e: second listen and it is happening again : D

AsleepInTheBack
January 13th 2019


5898 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hype.

Cormano
January 13th 2019


1350 Comments


not feeling it



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