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Castanarc - Little Gods

Castanarc - Little GodsJem knows what it takes to get me to enthuse about an album and how long it takes me to build up a good head of steam. Five years ago I was blessed among men to receive a review copy of an almost unheard tape of an almost unheard of quality when I met super-artist and good egg Mark Holiday. Shortly after that I emigrated which is my excuse for taking so long to write this up.  The wonderful news is that it is now released under an independent label and available to order on the net (you lucky people!) from http://www.kinesiscd.com/castanar.htm. First I'd like to tell why it is so vitally important that you buy this disc.

'Little gods' by Castanarc is one of those head-buggeringly good albums that will always be in your favourites pile. You will never lend it out nor will you ever let bed fluff collect on it's hallowed case should it briefly be consigned to the cardboard box of treasures on moving house. The ravens may leave the Tower of London but this disc will never come to harm while it is in your possession.

To business and the point of all this.

'Little gods' by Castanarc is a sort of 'what happened after' of fairy tales. No hobbits or elves here so unclench those buttocks right now. What we have is all the detail missing from the wedding of the Sun and Moon and their begetting of the ickle twinkly stars as told in popular myth. What is not told in the original, however, is what exactly he said to her; what she thought of him or how things went after the kids left home. Castanarc fill in the gaps and leave you with your jaw hanging and lip quivering.  In other tracks there is humour which works perfectly, but ' The Moon ' is a real tear jerker that will get to you time after time and leave you wanting more, utterly amazed at the talent of these two guys.  Every album should have one song at least that makes you want to buy the thing (Little Gods has loads!) so I'll nominate 'The Moon’ as the killer in the pack. Now I'm going to use a phrase I've never used before. Ready Jem? A work of bloody genius! Imagine your most bitter and horn-rimmed teacher. The ultimate dried up ice maiden. Play 'The Moon' and she'll go all wobbly and unnecessary (and this is strictly hypothetical!). Do not operate heavy machinery while listening to this track. Mark Holiday's voice is heavy with emotion as he sings "all those golden years, the best of times" and the Fender Rhodes and fretless base (always a lethal emotional combination) have a feel, a perfection of timing, a sweetness of moment that you seldom come across. If you like it poignant, if you like it bittersweet, this will leave you helpless and spent. Those of you thinking of having kiddies buy this disk and keep it by the bed; you'll want to conceive to it. It may be difficult not to.

Just for contrast in this review, the last track on side one, called simply 'Ahhrghh!' is bloody hilarious.  If you and the lads are going for a night out you'll want this in the car so you can all impersonate the poor sod in the song.  I'll say no more but if you've ever had piles this will carry a special resonance for you!

"But is it prog uncle Chris?" I hear you cry.  Well, I'd say yes, my dears.  Peter Nichols has said that the music of IQ is closer to funk than prog; something that most of their fans might disagree with.  'Little Gods' is a cornucopia of musical styles (well within the remit of prog, I believe) that weaves a rich tapestry. All the pieces work individually and as a whole. No matter what mood you're in there's always something to make your day in this masterwork. The opening base sequence of 80's 'thub-thub-a-thubathuba' will sow murder in your heart for this poor scribe but within a minute or two (Jem can verify my own lack of patience! That I can - Ed) you'll be on a trip to the stars that Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and 10cc would sign up for in a heartbeat.

Chris White

Khepra Records

 

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