Reviews:: Francisco Castle State and Main

We should start a band. How many times has that suggestion floated around a room after too many beers? Probably more than can be counted without one of those super human computer that can beat us at chess. How often is that suggestion followed up on? Well, I'd say it's more likely to hear Kanye be humble. In reality, you run out and grab a guitar and after the initial buzz wears off, it sits in the corner of your apartment collecting dust.

At some point, Francisco Castle - aka Jason Chapman - decided it would be cool to play music, and like so many of us he hated practicing. Despite that important fact, somehow he is able to make interesting music. Sure, his debut record - State and Mine - sounds like it was written by someone who has only being playing guitar for a year or two and it's recorded on a shitty old computer with average at best gear. You could slag it for the lo-fi production or you could embrace it for the exact same reasons. I choose to embrace it, because there are moments on this record that simply shine.

No one sits at home and decides that they are going to recreate Pet Sounds on their first effort. Sure it may influence people's tastes (listening to methology surely shows the Beach Boys play heavy in his stereo), but more than likely you are going to start banging out power chords like the Ramones and have simplistic drum machine like beats and bass lines providing your rhythm. That is exactly where Castle's sound lies.

The songs are usually under three-minutes, and use pretty standard chords and sounds, but there is something there. These pencil sketchings show the potential he has. It may take time for him to live up to that potential but State and Main is a great first step. The simple strums and hand claps that make up the core of never sa'r it come'n let the bass line and pleasant self harmonies fill out abundance of left over space on the track. Individually, nothing he plays on this record will blow your mind, but the way Castle combines these rudimentary building blocks is encouraging.

The Velvet Underground are a great point of reference for this project. The guitar work and vocals on morning after and lady liberty lets you know that Lou and the boys are a big influence. No, I'm not comparing the genius of VU to Castle's output, but the gritty honesty he displays can't help but make you think of the NYC icons and how they started out.

Over the course of these 14 songs, you can see Castle trying to find his sound. Is he there yet? Not yet, but when he finds it the results could be spectacular. In fact, if the lead single from his new EP (Good and Bye) is any indication, he's already started making that jump.

MP3:: methology
MP3:: lady liberty

web site :: myspace

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