Album Review

J.R.C.G. – “Ajo Sunshine” – [Castle Face Records]

Thurston Hunger   3/15/2022   A Library, CD

Justin R. Cruz Gallego (seen elsewhere in KFJC’s library in Dreamdecay where he is one of two drummers and a howler of a lead vocalist) works under his own initials here and mostly by himself. A few guests including the face of the Castle Face, John Dwyer, help out but while Dreamdecay provides storm clouds of septet sound, those thick jammy clouds part on “Ajo Sunshine.” (Prounced Ahh-Ho, maybe “garlic” en Espanol, or maybe just a feeling?) This album has a little bit of a Bowie-in-Berlin soundtracky feel for me especially the opening/closing and other tracks like “Holy Hope” which feature Gallego’s Dad’s field recordings from cemetery announcements I think). But there’s also plenty of percussion, not always from Gallego’s drums, sometimes the synths provide it, sometimes the samples are chopped up for a form of beat-speak on “De La Frontera” and “Brother Was a Bull Rider”. Something about the keyboard chords can give a hint of the walls closing in, augmented notes keep stacking on top of notes. Hard to pin down a simple genre for this, at times the album feels like cold wave and prog rock had an affair. Nah, that’s not right, and it ain’t Tortoise meets The Faint either…those solar flares of guitar on the title track obliterate that. The title track starts the most Castle-Facey (with imitation mellotron?), but it explodes with a drum and siren breakdown/jam-out to finish. That song and the album are a nice, but warped, ride!

-Thurston Hunger

you heard it 12 times on kfjc! most recently:
add comment
Your comment may be revised by KFJC editors.
Copyright © 2022 KFJC 89.7 FM
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Public Inspection File