Album : Raymond Byron and the White Freighter : Little Death Shaker

Go ahead.  Start off with crisp beats and a knowing male vocal with just a hint of cornpone to it. Tack on some power chords and tick-tocking percussion. Add unison group vocals. “Allegiance,” the first track on Raymond Byron and the White Freighter’s Little Death Shaker, is an attention getter, and an inspired kettle of psych/rock/gonzo/folk sensibilities.

But “Allegiance” is just the beginning of this stimulating set. The title track adds color from one of my fave styles – Merseybeat. “Don’t That Lake Just Shine” is an exercise in honky tonk atmospherics. “Some of My Friends” is a kickin’ reverb fest; a hallucination Johnny Cash might have had. There’s the refreshment of Talia Gordon’s vocals on a cover of Kate Wolf’s classic folk composition, “You’re Not Standing Like You Used To.”  And “Turnpike-Bedsheet” is a starkly appointed wonderland of cry-in-your-Heineken lyrics. It makes alienation into something much grander than the reality of shouldering a bulging knapsack next to a highway at 11 p.m., ignored by a stream of traffic.

I don’t imagine any of this will come as a shock to followers of Ray Raposa’s other project, Castanets.  Me, I’m kinda confused: usually it’s the woman whose name is more likely to change after a divorce.

MP3 : Raymond Byron & the White Freighter – You’ll Never Surf Again
MP3 : Raymond Byron & the White Freighter – Allegience

Little Death Shaker comes out next week, courtesy of Asthmatic Kitty.

Post by Mary Leary

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