Although the first in her oeuvre to be released under her real name, Jennifer Castle’s Castlemusic is even more fractured and detached from self than what brought criticism to her previous albums. But the decision to nominally shift, while carrying the previous moniker of Castlemusic along for the ride as the album title, is one Castle admitted to not giving much forethought.
Nothing wrong with working on intuition. This album seems to be the result of disparate impulses to pick up instruments honed to craft, and indulge in a kind of anti-autobiographical therapy like some find in running or knitting. Imprinted here is a survey of Castle’s technical abilities, available tones, vocal range and evocations of style; a pretty impressive resume pitting Joni Mitchell against Mazzy Star in an atmospheric mystical Mad-Lib that’s got “the blues,” Canada-style.
It’s not that there isn’t something that can move here. “Neverride” employs a note-change that can bank on it as Castle ushers in some of the album’s most concrete lyrics, but the paper-thin falsetto confuses the sentiment. Something definitely stirs once the dandy, ready-made elfin morning of “Remembering” turns a dark corner. The mic’d ether is compromised in “The Friend,” a realistic representation of Fahey if it weren’t for the faint sound of a cell phone vibrating in the room. “Poor As Him” could be an uncompromising country punch if the guitar weren’t completely drowning in someone’s new tremelo toy. This album has resounding potential energy, effectively so in the first pass; a half hour spent in traction, bracing for the emotionally slaying knockout that never happens.
But why do people listen to music? Surely not always to be slayed, especially if you are from Canada. By the way, I am aware of Castle’s contributions to Fucked Up albums and that Fucked Up is also from Canada and that they happen to slay. Considering this, Castlemusic is a suitable soundtrack (funded by the country itself) to match any residual melancholy and hold it at bay. From American soil, all that technical talent seems distilled, like the bottle of whiskey I want to give Castle in hopes of dislodging something raw, devoid of cosmic wheelies. (http://www.flemisheye.com)