(City of Refuge)
Bob Geldof, The Black Angels
City of Refuge is the seventh and second to last album put out by experimental project leader Raymond Raposa. The band name Castanets comes from a percussion instrument made of concave shells that are held in hand and used to produce clicking sounds. Ironically, the album contains little or no percussion work.
Overall, the album lacks consistency and flow. Most of the songs are very short and really never take off. The song lengths while suiting for a punk album fall very flat for this dark mood driven kind of music. There are some very powerful dark and eerie moments that shine on the album and we recommend them for hand picking. Burn tracks four "Prettiest Chain", seven "Glory B", twelve "Shadow Valley" and fourteen "Refuge 2", coincidentally the four longest tracks on the album. These four tracks develop and all have dark lyrics that somewhat tie together. Several of these tracks introduce a creep backing vocal that will make you shudder a bit.
Raymond's voice is very unique and can be described as decrepit and vulnerable giving off a bit of a Roger Waters/Bob Geldof feel.The best song on the album is track four, "Prettiest Chain", a very cool two minute dark glimpse through the eyes of an out of tune rattled guitar. This song sets a very ominous mood, but unfortunately is not sustained until several tracks later. Essentially what you have here is an EP, four solid songs wrapped by hasty rushed sterile songs. We did find some entertainment in the album, particularly the downtrodden vibe illicit from the aforementioned tracks.
Perhaps the Castanets are worth a perusal of their seven other albums to make your own compilation of depressing folk. Perhaps you can cull 14 or so tracks to put together a decent full length.
Standout Track: Shadow Valley