First Light's Freeze
/asthmatic kitty; 2005/


Cathedral was one of last year's very best records, claustrophobic, intimate and highly moving. It dealt with relationships, conflict and failure. On First Light's Freeze Castanet's sound has expanded (following the road "Cathedral #4" pointed at) there are drum machines, less reverb, more guitars. The album shares an impressive cohesion with its predecessor, songs and short instrumentals, which sound like they were recorded in the open air. The production is less claustrophobic and the central themes (friendship and war) are more universal and coincidentally a bit less touching. Still, Ray Raposa oozes fragility like no other contemporary artist, and his stories never fail to find a way to my heart.

The songs are impressive, from the lo-fi electro-folk of "A Song Is Not The Song of The World" to the delicately bare "Dancing With Someone (Privilege of Everything)" Castanets explore various landscapes, never using the same idea twice, always going forwards. "No Voice Was Raised" is the subtlest protest song i have heard in years, and one of the most efficient. Castanets make beautiful music, anchored in this damp reality, urban folk music, from their mouths to your ears.

-Barbara H

/october 2005/