After debuting his first full-length album in 2010, Alexis Pastuhov is back and more original than ever with his sophomore effort “Murder Your Darlings”. Pastuhov has drawn from his experience in Colorado, with lyrics about small towns in the West and spacious arrangements inspired by the landscape. He has even worked in field recordings of sounds, including the train whistle that opens “Dance Up the Devil”. This growth into layered arrangements and a grittier, more indie rock vibe hasn’t overshadowed Pastuhov’s acoustic folk background, however. Guitar still plays a prominent role, with Pastuhov’s expert picking and complex chord progressions carrying the movement of his lyrics. As always, his unique vocals take the prize, at times clear and hauntingly beautiful, at times screaming and gritty. You won’t want to miss the punk sound of “Eleven Fingers” or the gorgeous choral arrangements in “Sorest Pair of Eyes”. The influences of Elliot Smith, Fiona Apple, and Slaid Cleaves thread clearly through the energetic tracks of this album. Mark your calendars: Alexis Pastuhov will release “Murder Your Darlings” along with a separate limited-edition vinyl EP at Everyday Joe’s in Fort Collins on June 7th with special guests TBA.
— Jennifer Stewart