Ray Raposa’s demons dress in dirt-road garb, tattered and torn on the outs of contemporary life where the land is bleak and the people have little hope left.
Beginning with Castanets debut, Cathedral, Raposa has served as a tour guide for the forgotten, chaperoning eager listeners through compositions that echo country tenets that are sucked dry by Raposa’s dead-pan rasp. All of the trips were worth taking, but were bled out; the songs struggled to breathe healthily or emerge from listlessness without his characters and stories appearing broken.
But don’t fear. There is life in Raposa’s weird world, and it lives on Texas Rose, The Thaw, and The Beasts. Like rain to a barren desert, hand claps, a chorus of backing vocals, and plodding percussion emerge on the opening “The Rose,” electronic atmospherics color the edges of “On Beginning,” and lush bass and digital clicks drive “Worn From the Fight (With Fireworks), Raposa’s vocal range show more animation than evident on past releases.
Texas Rose, The Thaw and The Beasts is like prying off the lid of a coffin, and finding that life still surges through the body therein. It’s a strange sensation, but Castanets have a lot of life inside.
Texas Rose, The Thaw and The Beasts is out now on Asmathic Kitty.