Pain is good, or at least it can be when shared by the likes of Trespassers William. The Costa Mesa art-rock band create ethereal, haunting tunes that, because of their shimmering beauty, seem to comfort and soothe you. Recalling Too Many Joes and Downey Mildew, two now-defunct and much-missed local rock bands, Trespassers William (a name they nicked from a Winnie the Pooh story) unearth melancholy moods laced with both sadness and hope—comfortably numb they ain't. But rather than wallow around in darkness, singer/acoustic guitarist Anna-Lynne Williams, guitarist Matt Brown, bassist Trinidad Sanchez III and drummer Jamie Williams take solace in and even draw strength from life's often conflicting emotions. "Forever is just a word/But whisper it to me," Anna-Lynne croons during the tender "Just Like This." Yet resentment abounds as she achingly sings these words during "Alone": "You've got teeth for biting/And you've bore a hole in me." Ouch! Different Stars is the kind of album you drink in while alone on a cold, dark night, music that leaves you questioning how relationships—maybe even the one you're in right now—can get so fucked-up. If fragile, potent cuts like the title track and the Mazzy Star-like "Flicker" (or an intense cover of U2's "Love Is Blindness") don't provide you any clues, at least you'll know you're not alone as long as this warm soundscape washes over you with the cathartic, cleansing power of shared experience. It's a sneaky kind of good.
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