OK, so this album originally came out in 2001, making this a reissue. The official name extends beyond Self-Navigation to include a hidden (Remastered/Expanded). Crushed Stars frontman Tod Gautreau even re-recorded some of the vocals – reasoning that the first time around the group had only time for a few takes. Thus, what’s heard now is the same album, minus the first issue’s “shortcomings”, as Gautreau puts its.
Now, I haven’t heard that first pressing, but I thoroughly enjoyed Gautreau’s third record under the Crushed Stars moniker, Gossamer Days. Not surprising, Self-Navigation is similar to Crushed Stars… er… later work, in that it is packed with melodic pop of the softer, bedroom-like nature. Elements are orchestrated; for example, there’s horn in “Letters To Munich” and “Ever Since Autumn”.
Self-Navigation is bedroom pop at its finest. Songs like “Tow Truck” and “Outside The Stars Are Falling” are instantly catchy, yet refined enough for the sleepy subgenre, while other tunes have intense drone-ish elements to them – enough to warrant a bedroom-shoegaze reference. The concept is interesting, and it fits.
Despite all the greatness in the bedroom pop, perhaps the most rewarding tune on the album is “Exit Wound”, a tune that does not fit the aforementioned categorizations. This here is full-on indie-pop; the guitar packed with a ferocious strum and the vocals backed with double the lung-power.
Overall, it is quite apparent that Self-Navigation was a phenomenal debut, and I’m willing to bet that if you heard this album in its heyday, you’d find it just as moving and intriguing as if you’re just hearing it now for the first time.
Simularca Records [CD, 2009]
1. Liza In Silver
2. Letters To Munich
3. Ever Since Autumn
4. Tow Truck
5. Exit Wound
7. Asleep On A Bus Near Lowell
8. Presently Scattered
10. Outside The Stars Are Falling
11. Driving To Atlantis