Review : Castanets - Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts
AdequacyTouted as one of the pioneers and leaders of the “freak folk” movement of the 2000s, Castanets is also known for their ever changing line up. Sometimes a few members, other times a full-fledged band but most of the time, one sole band leader; Castanets is still one of the most unique bands on the market.
San Diego-born and raised, Raymond Raposa’s music as Castanets is fittingly gripping. City of Refuge seemed so much like an intimate listen that it felt almost unfair to be sharing this music with Raposa. And while it packed a stiffly weighty punch, there was much to be desired. So, if that’s the album about solitaire relations, Texas Rose, The Thaw, and the Beasts is an equally weighty album with the corresponding heavy music to boast. So in essence, if this comes off as saying that this is Castanets best album so far, then so it is.
Nothing left to be desired here; in blunt terms, Texas Rose, The Thaw, and the Beasts is a victoriously awesome album. Folk is easy, sure, but Raposa covers so much space in the span of 39 minutes; the only other way of describing such diversity is by pointing out its sheer eclecticism. At first, the sharply bright rhythm at the start of “Worn from the Fight (With Fireworks)” could sound like a skipping CD but it reveals itself as the song’s unnerving pace. And later, while Raposa has help in the form of a gentle-voiced female, the sparkling guitar lends a glistening effect....full text
PrefixmagTexas Rose, The Thaw and The Beasts is the perfect follow up to Ray Raposa's previous album, City of Refuge. For that, the man behind Castanets holed himself up in Nevada and recorded a solitary desert soundtrack that felt painfully alone. But here, he surrounds himself with players. Alongside regular Castanets members Suzanne Weiche and Henry Nagle, there are contributors both surprising (like Rocket from the Crypt's Jason Crane) and seemingly inevitable (like Black Heart Procession's Pall Jenkins). The result is the most full-band sound we've gotten from Castanets, but it still keeps up the ghostly isolation that's always been a part of Raposa's sound.
The real success on the album is how all these players accentuate and stretch out all this lonesome space, rather than build the songs up. Even on "No Trouble" and "Down the Line, Love," where guitars deliver towering solos over heavy psych-rock bases, all that big noise still echoes with reverb, reaching out into an expanse too large to overcome. Songs like "My Heart" and "On Beginning" show Raposa almost alone, but the slight contributions from the other players thicken up the fog more than Raposa's creaky bleat ever could alone. And the electro-pop leanings of "Worn from the Fight (With Fireworks)" and "Lucky Old Moon" show the group stepping confidently out of country sawdust and into the digital ash without missing a beat....full text
ThephoenixAlthough based in a rustic, country-western sound, Ray Raposa's Castanets are irreverent, using familiar elements like pedal-steel guitars and gospel choruses in defiant ways. Surprises crop up throughout Texas Rose, like the glitch rhythm of "Worn from the Fight" and the spacious synthesizers of "On Beginning."
Raposa's voice is vulnerable, coated in spooky reverb, as though coming from the bottom of a dark well. The grinding guitars of "No Trouble" recall Nick Cave, a midnight wailer amid flickering streetlamps on desolate streets. Raposa often sounds on the brink of breakdown, but it's not all about inner turmoil and pain: the album's emotional crux, "Down the Line, Love," is a torch ballad, with piano runs that bloom and explode like gorgeous flowers....full text
Castanets Album Reviews
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
- 1. All That I Know To Have Changed In You
- 2. Cathedral 2 (Your Feet On The Floor Sound Like Th
- 3. Three Days, Four Nights
- 4. You Are The Blood
- 5. Dancing With Someone (Privilege Of Everything)
- 6. The Night Is When You Cannot See
- 7. Bells Aloud
- 8. Cathedral 4 (The Unbreaking Branch And Song)
- 9. No Light To Be Found (Fare Thee Faith, The Path I
- 10. Heaps Of Wheat
ice-cream or chocolate?