Freakfolkers steer around sophomore slump
According to the Castanets’ biography, frontman Raymond Raposa tested out of high school at age 15, spending the next few years traveling via Greyhound bus. The songs on First Light’s Freeze, the San Diego band’s second release, re?ect the sound of this wandering-troubadour songwriting tradition. Raposa’s world-weary vocals (think Devendra Banhart) paired with pastoral—if sometimes frantic—accompaniment and guest appearances by artists like Sufjan Stevens ensure that Castanets need not worry about the sophomore slump. When this album drops, the band will be on tour, which is fitting, because these songs belong on the road, searching for hope beyond their beautifully disillusioned sound.