CASTLEBEAT back to DIY fidelity and maturity on the new album “VHS”.
Josh Hwang, the man behind CASTLEBEAT, Jaded Juice Riders, and the label Spirit Goth Records finally releases the sophomore album “VHS”, as I mentioned on my 12 Best Songs of 2017 post.
The new material extending the DIY bedroom lo-fi project started in 2015 brought back the nostalgia feeling regarding 80’s and 90’s era of old televisions and cassette tapes that provide an environment pleasure. The opening track “Research” remarks Josh’s proposal bringing synth effects, electronic drums, and at least two guitar layers in a stereo mode mixing smooth and the noisy sound sometimes together (“Wasting Time”, “Zephyr”, “These Days” and “Heart Still Beats”) and separated (“Tennis” and “Here”).
The difference between the previous record is that Josh opted to play in a fast tempo as “Downstairs” and “Poolside” instead to make something shoegazing that reminds his main successes “Dreamgaze” and “Change Your Mind” which is the negative point. Although, “VHS” presents a growth on composition and quality producing without losing the essence of a true lo-fi record that Josh has been doing for a while.
Still, it is hard to say which is the best. I’m sure that the 31-minute length passes quickly. The sound is similar to the Fazerdaze’s debut “Morning Side” and the hectic guitar riffs back to the dream pop legendary “What A Pleasure” from Beach Fossils.
The truth is Josh Hwang had been doing an honest work running his projects and the label that gives opportunities to many bands shows their music from the bedroom to outside of the world.