'Decimation Blues' is the work of Raymond Raposa, an alt-country styled, New Weird America-influenced, crackly-voiced musician who makes off-kilter music under the name Castanets and releases it on Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty label -- Sufjan himself is a fan, having covered Raposa's "You Are The Blood" for 4AD's famous 'Dark Was The Night' compilation. This new record is a more distinctly pop effort from Raposa, taking on the bleepiest keyboard sounds and the sunniest choruses.
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If ever you wanted an approximation of what early Portishead and Tindersticks shagging in bed may produce, the opening track on this album will rapidly turn your quiet morning into a slimy landslide of mud, blood and unmitigated horror. Throw in some Lambchop and Roy Ayers then we are done. To some ears this song would be sublime. Personally I find it over-worthy and rather dull. Then the next tune features an-off centre belching bontempi-style rush and the feller's irritating and character-less vocals. I don't understand this tune. Kinda like latter-career Buck 65 annoying, it doesn't really sound much like anything else simply because no-one should sound like this.
Quirky Americana always has its place but on 'Decimation Blues' electronic experimentation, lounge-jazz-bedroom funk, Gothic country soul and mawkish singer-songwriter reminiscences conspire to irritate and perplex; this is an album of slightly jarring and confused music masquerading as progressive and contemporary mood-pop. There's some real talent behind many of the ideas contained herein - for instance 'To Look Over The Grounds' is genuinely unusual and well worth the rewind - plus there are other redeeming tracks that kinda work. But it's not an album that I'd call remotely loveable and his voice just pisses me off, sadly. Shame because there's not a lot here that I'd describe as mega obvious and its beautifully played throughout, therefore it's a "marginally interesting work" of sorts. Just the wrong juxtapositions in super stereo sound for little me.
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