Nick Castro and the Young Elders Come Into Our House

Castro is more psych-folk than freak folk. There’s an a honesty in the music, an earnestness that makes the album more Fairport Convention than Devendra Banhart (though in the past Castro has played and recorded with a few Banhart compatriots, namely Josephine Foster and members of Espers). Like a fair majority of current "freak folkers” Castro is influenced by ’60s-era British Isles balladry but chooses to accent his music with multicultural influences such as the tabla and the nyahbinghi drums. The singing on the album is sparse and instead of lyric-heavy tracks, we get an album of "pan-cultural communal jams,” — essentially a psych-folk album with today’s cultural influences, like the sounding of the gong that opens the album. This is a fairly serious album, which is perhaps what is lacking; current freak folk is so popular because there’s an air of abandonment about it, an irrelevance and light-heartedness. Though the instrumentation on the album is often perfectly psych-folk (you can see the fair maiden playing her mandolin in the woods) like "Picolina,” the album remains stoic and overall is missing a certain playfulness that, although rather serious at the time, ’60s psych-folk represents. (Strange Attractors)