You might not have heard of Castles yet, which is a shame, but we can’t really blame you. Since the band’s formation in early 2015, the group has remained fairly elusive, playing shows few and far between. At least until recently.
On May 6, in front of an intimate audience at the sleepy North Portland dive, The Waypost, Castles celebrated the release of their first collection of recordings, a self-titled EP recorded and mixed at Robot Boy Records in Eugene. Self-described as Wayne Coyne falling asleep to Tame Impala, Castles have found a cozy niche in Portland’s dream-pop scene, blending pop influence, jangly riffs, and a touch of 60’s psychedelia.
Album opener, “All Aglow,” instantly establishes an underlying theme that carries throughout the EP; warm guitar tones awash in reverb, comfortable melodies, and singer Cody Myers’ charming, boyish falsetto. The languid, uncomplicated demeanor of songs like “Cooler Coast” and “Atlantis” have a way of subtly building layers and energy, making it hard to pinpoint exactly when the sound shifts, becoming more complex and powerful.
The downtempo “Epona” is an interesting and welcome deviation from the rest of the EP. Eerie and distant guitar shimmers above a gentle swing beat, leaving room for the vocals to carry the tune with a calming, familiar melody. “Planetside,” the album’s single, is a true earworm with a vocal hook and guitar jangle that will echo in your head just as they swell in and out of each other.
See Them Live: Castles play in Eugene at The Black Forrest on Friday, June 3, and in Portland at the Firkin Tavern on Friday June 17.