When we last left Mr. Raymond Raposa, he had hid himself away in a Nevada motel room to create City of Refuge. I wonder, while I listen to his follow-up album, Texas Rose, The Thaw, and The Beast, if Raposa found that refuge he was looking for.
He may have, as this album sounds like the little voice inside the head of a down and out country singer, whispering the lyrics to the song he really wants to sing, but he’s doing it with an impressive roster of friends and aquaintances, many of whom may have been present only in spirit on his last, often-times quiet and vacant release. Here, his outlook seems no less bleak, but it manifests itself in eleven songs that are united, at the very least, by a newfound sense of collaboration, and with that, perhaps renewal.
There are the creepy little touches that one comes to expect of Mr. Raposa along the way, and the song titles call to mind a west coast cousin of Mr. Will Oldham, but there’s something about this album that previous albums haven’t been able to capture, something that Castanets have been working towards. Here with friends from bands like Black Heart Procession, Bauhaus, and label-mate DM Stith, we get weird Tangerine Dream-like intros on the second song, “On Begining”, and noise meditations like “Ignorance is Blues”, but it’s when Raposa’s crackling croon is on display that we begin to understand that Raposa may have found his road to refuge, one that’s helped him create the most realized Castanets album so far.