Castanets, Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts

castanets_phixrI first got turned onto the “Freak-folk” genre a few years ago, while touring through a dank little record store instead of attending University classes. Now, the record that turned me onto the movement has faded into obscurity. But I’m quite sure had it been Castanets, also known as the musical stylings of Raymond Raposa who served as my introduction to freak-folk, my genre allegiances would have turned out a little different. Few of the freak-folksters out there can hold a candle to Raposa; he’s genuinely haunting without divulging too much of his “Freak” factor on Texas Rose, The Thaw &The Beasts, his fifth full-length.

The subtle desolation that reigns supreme on tracks like “My Heart” builds with a patient, brooding tilt, showcasing not only Raposa’s snarl but his penchant for using subliminal and disturbed hints of beauty. It all sounds very complicated, but Texas Rose, The Thaw &The Beasts never becomes unlistenable. “No Trouble” is another glaring example of how Raposa’s raspy, edgy vocals lend into an edgy stomp. There’s hints of the blues on Texas Rose, The Thaw &The Beasts, especially within the ragged, Southern guitar solo on “No Trouble.” Throughout the   swarming, rising percussion and stretching synth-work that often permeates the record, Raposa puts forth a certain swagger that results in something of a rarity within the freak-folk genre: Castanets sound damn cool.

Texas Rose, The Thaw &The Beasts isn’t exactly filled with hope and optimism, but what Castanets do have crafted is something rather remarkable. What’s at first heard as something of a niche record reveals itself in multiple listens to be a timeless, grand record.

By Joshua Kloke

[Rating: 3.5/5]

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