With a background in punk, rock, and metal bands glimmering alongside a few pivotal roles in musicals like Sweeney Todd (in which he played the “demon barber”), Los Angeles-based artist Nic Nassuet has combined his mixed-bag of influences into Eleutherious, a nine-track collection of Gothic folk and dark pop that offers the listener a surprisingly accessible experience.
Channeling figureheads like Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley, Nassuet combines a wholly folky sound with vocals that sometimes ebb on stadium-rock worthy. On “Cross and Crown,” the album’s opener, he beckons the listener in with smooth, lulling melodies before unleashing his rockier side, but creates a super listenable barometer against which the rest of the album is measured. Simply put, each track builds on the one before it. Some artists don’t understand the importance of creating a cohesive effort within an album format; Nassuet does. Even on sweet, string-heavy “Immured,” he manages to incorporate a little driving rock into a track that might be best classified as chamber music. In fact, Eleutherious contains a few tunes that showcase Nassuet’s softer side, including “Goodnight, Goodbye,” and the mysterious “The Giver.”
For those just dipping their toes into this style of music, however, “When It Falls” might be the best introduction to Nassuet and possibly Gothic folk as a whole. Its pop underpinnings and repetitious chorus render it a complete earworm; it’s definitely the one you’ll be humming later. But I’d also be willing to wager that this album is one you’ll keep around for a long, long time; its evergreen melodies and deep-seated heart and soul make it a staple for anyone’s collection.[bandcamp width=100% height=120 track=1215610604 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]