Castle Pines | Por Vida

 
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Family Average: 4.9/7

Coming all the way from California, The Family Reviews is happy to welcome Castle Pines to our growing list of reviews. Their latest album, Por Vida seemed to go over pretty well with the majority of the listeners. Special guest Kristen (Mamma K) stops by to deliver some choice words. 

Listen along on Spotify as you check out what we had to say:

 
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Okay here we go! I was pretty happy with these guys. I especially enjoyed “Woo Hoo” for its spoken lyrics; it gave off a very Conor Oberst vibe to me. I enjoyed the slices of audio clips that came in and out as the tracks progressed, making it feel like a collage of techniques. On the whole, however, I think the album lacked some flow. Even the album art for some of the songs didn’t match on the SoundCloud...showing that these were all produced under slightly different circumstances and maybe didn’t always have the other songs in mind. But in the age of the playlist, maybe this isn’t such a huge problem.

The last two tracks were definite jams that helped me get through an otherwise slow and uneventful Tuesday at the office. When music helps you properly escape it does its job.  So in that sense Por Vida is a job well done.

4/7

 
 
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Hold onto your hats people, I think these guys may be one of my favorites we have reviewed. I was immediately into the guitar and the quality of production. It just felt tight and considered from the get-go. While some of the songs do feel a little long at times, I never got tired of listening. Each song is pretty catchy, pretty distinct, and has got 90's alt and early 2000's indie threads running through. Despite the variation, these guys have a clear and well-defined sound. Something about them just feels genuine and authentic. Overall, it was a real pleasure to listen to, and if this is just their initial work, I'm eager to see what else they've got up their sleeves.

5.5/7

 
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Sean promised me some rock and roll and he delivered. I like this one. Most other stuff is such shit. Conversely, Castle Pines has some special qualities.

The opening track is light and dreamy, “Woo Hoo” reminded me of Hot House Flowers, good stuff. My favorite tracks by far were “Swim Team Sucker” and  “Scenester” which had a “Smashing Pumpkins” quality to it. But “Swim Team Sucker” could easily be on the radio. I really like this song, I even played it twice, something i haven’t done in years. All of their songs have solid composition. The vocals, guitars and drums are well balanced and overall their sound feels nice.

Last track had a very cinematic feel to it. It could be a movie where this girl is up in her room looking at pictures of her dog that she had to give away because it kept biting her. And also she is a really goth kid with gloves, and goth makeup. Then she takes a shower and she washes off all the makeup and she’s all blonde under all the makeup, and hair dye. I like this band, I would buy their CD if such a thing still exists. Peace Out.

6.5/7

 
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Hey there guys. Want to first point out that I am in love with the album art going on here. Something about that texture just gets me going off. Okay, now to the review.

Woah daddy. This one starts off with a banging surfy guitar tune. Right from there I kinda was already won over, but hey let me go through anyway and say all the other stuff I liked. I was a big fan of the vocal style, one that pops up in most of my favorite 90's slowcore bands. But it was the drums that stood out to me as my favorite piece from this group. Being someone who plays the drums on occasion I am always jazzed to see a drummer that can play WITH a band. What I mean by this is that the drummer is present, but not self indulgent. Instead they serve to take charge and lead the listener through the song, all while complementing the sounds of the other members. No surprise my favorite track off the album, “Scenester”, has a great little drum transition into each of the choruses. Also big props for that change in tempo for the ending half of the album. I needed that after finishing a 3 mile skate ( I was sucking wind).

6/7

 
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I took a second listen to this album and liked it more than the first. The middle of the album was my favorite. For me, "Scenester" was the highlight. The guitar, drums, and beat were good throughout. The first two songs aren’t hits for me. When "Woo Hoo" started I said “oooo!” But then, just like on the opening track, I found myself waiting for something to happen. It’s definitely good beach day background music to tap along to on your chair. It’s kind of like Something Corporate meets Gaslight Anthem, minus the lead singer.


3.5/7

 
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I like the rhythm, it’s got a nice beachy vibe to it. It’s quirky, it’s got a unique style that you don’t have to worry about confusing for another band. It’s almost blues-y? But not in the conventional way, I mean ike how people perform music in order to let out emotions. Some of the album has got like this sunset vibe, a mix of restlessness and indecision, as if to say “things have got to change but where do we go from here?” Matched up nicely with the weird brain fog I had going on the night I listened to it. Oftentimes the singer was hard to understand, but the snippets of lyrics that I did catch had a quirkiness to match the music. However, singing was a bit weird. I’m used to echoy or slightly distorted stuff and I understand the sound they were going for, but it didn’t fully resonate with me. I feel like it’s just missing something in order to fully synchronize with the music.
While I do like music that you can just zone out to, I found some of the tracks on here to be a bit monotonous. The first song became very repetitive after a time. And when my internet cut out and I had to refresh, I accidentally listened to the same song twice. Just needs a bit more of a change up every now and then (thought that might have been due in part to my own distraction).
I like what they’ve done so far, they just gotta push it a bit further to really sell it.


4/7

 
 
Sean Maldjian