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When Raymond Raposa retired his Castanets project in 2009 in favour of a new full band called Raymond Byron and the White Freighter, it seemed like a step away from the lo-fi freak-folk which he had been performing for nearly a decade. However, five years later Raposa is back as Castanets but it is not quite business as usual.

Decimation Blues is the sixth Castanets album on Asthmatic Kitty and the title seems prophetic, as many of the arrangements have been stripped back to basic synth and drum machine with very few other instruments to the fore.

The opening track 'It's Good to Touch You in the Sunlight' is fairly typical of the album with its laid-back electronic blues played out on an electric piano. Raposa's half-spoken vocal defines Castanets sound, yet here it is more reminiscent of Kurt Wagner from Lambchop - although the music is more lo-fi and minimal than that of the Nashville group.

Whilst the psych-folk elements have taken a back seat this time around, traditional country and folk stylings are never far away. 'Black Bird Tune' is a brief but pleasantly shambolic uptempo waltz and 'Pour it Tall and Pour it True' is warped country, with a gentle guitar battling with a vocal drenched in reverb.

There is a delicate side to this album too, with 'Cub' coming across as a tender, reflective folk song and 'Thunder Bay' building into something more expansive after a muted electric guitar and female vocal easing us in gently. 'To Look Over the Grounds' has alternating male and female vocal,and the minimal electronic backing recalls the more recent Leonard Cohen albums.

That mood of cosy conventionality is broken by 'Be My Eyes' which features a juddering messy rhythm and a double tracked vocal going out of sync. It is tricky to get into, especially when the noodling piano solo kicks in. The next most experimental track to this - 'Tell Them Memphis' - is much more successful. It is built around acoustic guitar, hand claps and an effected auto-tuned vocal, perhaps a nod to the recent work of Asthmatic Kitty founder, Sufjan Stevens.

Raposa often weaves stories into the songs, such as 'Out For The West' which tells three separate tales about buying a copy of Vanity Fair, the end of a Portland Trailblazers game that they won in overtime, and some musings on the gold rush - all of which is set against a toy synth backing that evokes the early Magnetic Fields records.

'My Girl Comes to the City' is maybe the best song here, a memorable tune with an awful lot crammed into its two minute duration.

Overall Decimation Blues is a welcome return for Castanets, full of ideas. Not all of them come off, but when they do they are genuinely surprising. As if to distance itself from the roots-type influences, the moody closing track 'Somewhere in the Blue' is just an electronic pulse and vocal.

Rock music evolved from blues and country music, gradually losing the obvious roots as it progressed. Castanets manage to keep those raw influences in sight, whilst tweaking and twisting them into something different, and at times intriguingly strange.

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