City Of Refuge - Castanets
Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. City of Refuge never succumbs to the silence that so obviously surrounds it. Even appearances (overdubbed after the initial field recordings) from Sufjan Stevens, Jana Hunter, Scott Tuma, Dawn Smithson, and Ero Gray feel unobtrusive, resulting in a strange, sad, but ultimately compelling collection of hopeless Western indie folk.
  2. The resulting record plays like a soundtrack to a non-existent film, skeleton-framed and dramatic.
  3. City Of Refuge’s 15 tracks are uneven in both length and musical depth--one track, 'High Plain 3,' is just a minute and 31 seconds of quiet, droning ambient static--yet the record plays out like the cohesive score to a postmodern, post-apocalyptic western.
  4. Ray Raposa couldn’t stay in the City of Refuge, but he captured the best parts on this album and shared them with us.
  5. City of Refuge is an eerie, archaic record, and even the CD version sounds as though there's years of thick dust packed into the grooves.
  6. City of Refuge offers the refuge that comes with being aware of your surroundings and trying to make sense of both good and bad emotions without flinching. It is the refuge from ignorance that makes these songs timeless.
  7. The fine-tuned spaces let you hear every rough callous scrape across the acoustic strings, every quick intake of breath before a verse.
  8. While the album is perhaps not as wholly satisfying as 2007's "In The Vines" and could benefit from a tighter structure, City Of Refuge, aided by contributions from Jana Hunter, Scott Tuma, and Sufjan Stevens, among others, sees Castanets craft passages of evocative, dusty beauty. [Fall 2008, p.74]
  9. 60
    It's not the conceptul masterpiece he was clearly hoping for, but there are moments of transcendence just the same. [Nov 2008, p.89]
  10. City of Refuge seems more like a collection of ideas for three or four different albums than one complete work.
  11. Woozy and stark, City Of Refuge is one of those releases that never really shifts dynamics too much (there's no rhythm section on the entire album) and feels a bit longer than it actually is.
  12. Raposa's songs are often just a little too aimless. [Dec 2008, p.126]
  13. Three weeks spent writing and recording alone has resulted in a cathartic outpouring that's both half-baked and hauntingly memorable.

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