by Jordan Reyes
By now, well-researched music fanatics should recognize David Vassalotti’s proclivity and penchant for diverse sounds as a defining characteristic. Having been part of both abrasive acts like Church Whip and Cult Ritual as well as bands with a softer sonic palette, like 4AD band Merchandise, it should be no shock that Vassalotti excels at balladry, atmospherics, and venom. On Broken Rope, his upcoming LP on Wharf Cat Records + Hidden Eye, David amps up the surprises, imparting a wondrous, uncompromising vision. As necessary for a record published under his given name, Broken Rope is profound as an object of reflection and, like all human beings, appropriate as an exploration of the myriad factors that make a self.
On “Ines de Castro,” one of the more straightforward pop songs in the collection, Vassalotti traffics in fairy tale language of kings and queens, creating a ballad steeped in Arthurian legend and elegy. The song is as novel as it is sweet and affecting, managing to be youthful without being juvenile. Over a simple drum machine rhythm, David lays synth parts, guitar, and a deeply evocative vocal melody. It’s a wistful song made stronger by Vassalotti’s singular hand in its creation – he wrote, recorded, produced Broken Rope himself – but on a personally charged song like “Ines de Castro,” anything less would be High Treason.