Castanets brings on an eighth new record Sept 22, 2009 (his 5th with Asthmatic Kitty) called Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts. For a brief back-story on Castanets, check out his label bio HERE. You’ll find descriptive summaries regarding Ray Raposa’s evolution as a musician and the array of sonic delicacies he’s offered over time. As a relative newcomer to Castanets who’s listened with interest to pieces from previous albums and now to the entire new record, my take is that while each release from Castanets has differed, as we would hope for and expect, what has remained steady and now penetrates more hauntingly right-on than ever is the singular thread of Raposa’s country-tinged, deeply entrancing voice. Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts comes across assertive and large, often dark, with a big room echo. It’s spacious yet grounded…a lot of space that’s densely packed, not floating untethered in outer realms. Really, it’s a hot enveloping scorcher. Raposa presents palpably pointed presence and passion, naturally and unselfconsciously. The result is like a sharply aware, beautiful bird on it’s last few heartbeats offered at the doorstep by your dedicated pussycat. Compelling and captivating.
The first track on the record, Rose, opens with simple clarity, announcing the Jedi strength of Castanets and the force of what will follow in eleven songs. My Heart (track 3) particularly strikes me. It’s a churning song of active dedication that builds with intimate lyrics, “…my hands are clearing the land for you,” working its way through human parts to “my heart” with utter devotion. Gently closing the record is Dance, Dance, a personal, country-style traditional ballad that’s long enough to comfortably bring you back to earthly senses with lightness of spirit.
Castanets has me captivated. Buy Texas Rose, The Thaw & The Beasts.