At first blush, Angelo De Augustine’s Tomb feels so gossamer that it seems it could drift off on a light breeze at any moment. He surrounds his delicate falsetto with equally light touches of plucked strings, knotty tumbles on the acoustic guitar, and sparse drum-machine beats, which flutter around in the mix like so many butterflies.
At the same time, though, the record’s title nods to the quiet, heavy permanence of death. In De Augustine’s case, it’s a bit more figurative—he wrote Tomb in a deluge immediately following a painful breakup—but the gravity of loss acts as an anchor for De Augustine’s dozen songs. His efforts here feel like a natural successor to the work of Sufjan Stevens, carrying a similar sense of mournful frailty in the wake of heartbreak (it fits that Stevens’s label, Asthmatic Kitty, released Tomb).
He croons “I walked into your life at the wrong time” on the opening title track, a line that feels more like a revelation rather than an admission. On “Kaitlin,” De Augustine lays his pain bare with a plea: “I hope you hear this song and you leave your old boyfriend / Come back where you belong in my arms,” he sings as he strums. Throughout Tomb, De Augustine tempers his downcast mood with arrangements that are both bittersweet and uplifting, as on “All to the Wind,” where bright and peppy piano frames De Augustine’s lyrics about giving his whole life “to the wind.” De Augustine’s balance of the ultra-light with the ultra-heavy makes Tomb a paradoxical comfort—a place where sadness has space to breathe.