Instrumental rock has long been the genre's redheaded stepchild. Radio ignores it, and many people start squirming in their seats if a singer doesn't start whining and growling into their ears. And you know what? Kent's Six Parts Seven doesn't give a damn about your need for lyrics and vocalization. These gentle souls have issued five albums of cerebral yet pastoral, voice-free rock to growing critical acclaim; now the quartet has delivered its masterpiece.
The eight-song Casually Smashed to Pieces meanders down tree-canopied pathways: mellow and carefree. Guitars spangle and sigh with yearning and regret; vibes chime and banjos jangle in beautiful sympathy, while hazy brass fanfares billow in the distance. In an age pummeled by bad news, an "all is right with the world" vibe peeks through the band's shimmering ease; it's a methodical grace that seems positively pre-internet in its refusal to hustle and bustle. While the pace sometimes gets too dozy, Pieces mostly achieves a languorousness that totally soothes the soul.