Spellling — The Turning Wheel — Album Review

Alternative | Psych Soul

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

I had heard a fair bit of buzz surrounding the enigmatic and creative Oakland-based song artist Chrystia Cabral, who in respect to this album, goes by the moniker of Spellling.

I seem to recall there being a fair amount of positive praised being poured into her last project, that being 2019’s Mazy Fly. However, it was admittedly one f those projects I wasn’t fully aware of until the end of that year.

Two years later, and we get Spellling’s newest effort, in the form of her third album, given the title of The Turning Wheel. And with a brand new opportunity to dive into the music of Spellling being presented to me once more, I wasn’t going to let that chance go to waste.

The first thing that I managed to notice from this album, is that it stylistically gravitates towards a far more spellbinding and classical feel than the likes of Mazy Fly. However, the retro electronic elements do also stick around for the most part.

The best way I could describe how this album sounds aesthetically, is that it seems to take inspiration from Kate Bush; a lot of inspiration. In fact, The Turning Wheel could easily have been a Kate Bush album, without me even paying a second thought. I was in quite the rural town when listening to this album for the first time. That said, this magical and whimsical feel definitely felt like a good accompaniment.

The week following this album’s release had been quite the hectic one for me. Nevertheless, The Turning Wheel did not fail to present itself as a truly special project. I talk about albums that have that certain air of importance, that can ultimately allow a project to stand as an iconic one of that for that year. A brilliant example of this would be Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising in 2019. And by the way it has sounded to me so far, Spellling very much seems to be following suit with this album.

Scattered generously throughout the record, are an array of tunes that felt absolutely gripping thanks to the beautiful instrumentation put to use, as well as Cabral’s own earthy yet angelic vocals. Throw in the electronic elements for that additional sense of familiarity and engagement, and The Turning Wheel truly stands as a stellar record.

My only real qualm with the album, in fact, is quite a commonplace criticism for a lot of albums I review; there were just a few tracks on here that either felt too patience testing, repetitive, or didn’t quite progress in the way that I hoped. However, that is indeed quite the nitpick, and there were pretty much no songs on there that were just flat-out unenjoyable. So with that being said, the little criticism I have towards it, really speaks well of its grace and artistry, but more importantly how well-crafted the project is as a whole.

With a conceptual sentiment that makes a good juxtaposition with its fantastical melodies, The Turning Wheel motivates its listeners, by the most artful means possible. And on top of that, it brilliantly displays just how chameleonic and talented Chrystia Cabral truly is.

Favourite Tracks: Little Deer | Always | Queen of Wands | Revolution

Least Favourite Track: Legacy

Sacred Bones Records

Enjoyment: 9/10 | Memorability: 9/10 | Atmosphere: 9/10

Uniqueness: 8/10 | Satisfaction: 9/10 | Narrative: 8/10

Final Score: 9/10

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My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

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Joe Boothby

Joe Boothby

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

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