This one’s been swirling in the brain for a while now, the debut LP from Frank LoCrasto (Fruit Bats, Cass McCombs). The keyboardist has been a key session player for years and, as he steps out on his own under the name Kolumbo, he’s shirking off some of the tightly wound indie that he’s been party to for the more lustrous sounds of ‘60s exotica and Library pop. The record exists in a glowing haze — a mixture of nostalgia and dreamscape, brought together into territories that feel familiar yet fantastical. Like the soundtrack to an unsettling film that seeks to comfort the listener only to help let their defenses down, there’s a saccharine feeling to Kolumbo’s songs. That feeling is undermined, though, by an out-of-body buzz about them that’s eroding the palm and pastels facade.
LoCrasto doesn’t skimp on the details, and that’s what makes the album. While his keys remain the languid, slippery center of the record, the rest is kitted out with skittering drums, mystery-swamped strings, and staccato guitar. The album swoons and saunters, ducks down through intrigue and lounges in ecstasy. LoCrasto’s work in film clearly lends a hand here, but Gung Ho creates the atmosphere without the images and still manages to conjure a tropical odyssey that’s layered with a rotoscope dizziness and an intriguing glow. The record is out now on Allah-Las Calico Discos.
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