It`s been almost 5 years since Tody Castillo`s debut graced this site and, with "Windhorse", he not only offers up an strikingly strong followup, he leaves the accomplishments of that debut in the dust. To call this sophmore record a leap forward, a dramatic over-stepping of what came before it, would be a large under-statement. Like Castillo`s self-titled debut, this one sounds the power pop album that Jeff Buckley would have made if had lived a bit longer; not only does Castillo sound like him, but he shares a similar sense of creating soundscapes inside his deceptively simple songs and letting them float skyward as they envelop the senses with their sweet, lulling beauty. There`s some Jeff Tweedy(some of the strongest songs here highlight the really, really poppy side of Wilco), Duncan Sheik, Salim Nourallah and Josh Rouse in here.
Castillo has turned a corner as a songwriter. His compass is now divided between observations of life external and his own emotional existence. Much of the album features softly-strummed guitars and subdued instrumentation paired with Castillo`s low-key vocals, and the influences that pepper Windhorse`s 11 tracks are subtle: a hint of ELO ("Sad Decision"), some Tom Petty ("Spoken Up Sooner"), Josh Rouse ("Mustang Island"), and Jeff Tweedy ("What Happened To The Magic"). Castillo`s songs have a universal appeal, and despite the sometimes weighty subject matter of his lyrics the album ultimately leaves the listener with a brighter outlook. Perhaps he best sums up his feeling about the album on "Set To Lose," on which he sings, "I am all set to lose, maybe this once I`m going to win."
The melodies are impeccably well crafted and clearly the work of a songwriter in his prime, while the music strides gracefully in step with each melody, perfectly highlighting the emotion and enduring truth of the songs. This is an album that manages to rise up beyond the superficial pop music constructed for the masses, as an album of true substance, with truly universal themes that everyone can relate to and enjoy.
Song #1 - mp3
Song #2 - mp3
Song #3 - mp3
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Song #5 - mp3