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Castanets, ‘City of Refuge’ (Asthmatic Kitty)

Josh Modell // October 11, 2008

Getting past Raymond Raposa’s world-weary façade — big beard, deliberately grizzled voice, atmospheric instrumental interludes — takes a willful suspension of disbelief not unlike what Will Oldham requires, but City of Refuge often rewards that patience. Raposa’s fourth album under the name Castanets rarely makes a point, but meanders interestingly through a folky desert mist (the terrific “Glory B”), a frequently covered Baptist hymn (the merely nice “I’ll Fly Away”), and bare-bones psychedelia (the kinda awful “Savage”). It’s not the conceptual masterpiece he was clearly hoping for, but there are moments of transcendence just the same.

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