Joe Reyes and Erik Sanden of San Antonio art-pop trio Buttercup go out of their way to avoid obvious musical and lyrical resolutions in this imperfect-yet-intriguing side project. Demitasse's debut is a warm, modest-scoped meditation on loss and despair. The 10 songs find character in unvarnished acoustic guitar/piano instrumentation and range-testing vocals that give up surety in exchange for honest expression. From strategic handclaps to rising swashes of distortion, cleverness pops up all over the margins of the duo's arrangements. "Comfy Coffins" subsumes morbidity by luxuriating in the cloak of a stripped-down soft rock trope, while "Couples Therapy" finds its device in not spelling things out. Even "The Power of Positive Thinking" resolves in a gray-hued roundabout manner. The second half of Blue Medicine isn't as striking, but the heightened levels of intimacy and introspection never flag.
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