CASTLEBEAT Releases 11-Track Indie Dream Pop Album 'Half Life'
CASTLEBEAT is the goth pop project of CA-based artist Josh Hwang. His third album Melodrama released back in 2020 was a divergence from his previously guitar-based approach in VHS as well as his self-titled debut, instead offering another facet of his nostalgia-heavy aesthetic wherein all was balanced delicately around the sounds of dream pop, hip hop, jangle pop, and everything in between. With CASTLEBEAT, there is a thoughtful emphasis on keeping that comforting warmth that comes with lo-fi production, and his fourth album Half Life, released in July 2022, is another example of this; written, recorded, and produced in his garage, the album is not only a brilliant continuation of the ideas explored in Melodrama, but also reinforces, yet again, the near-transcendent magic of the diy process.
Much like its predecessor, there’s something for everyone here: Opener “Moment,” with supersonic, radiating synth melodies that knock you breathless, melts into the jangle-pop ballad “Cinema;” the exuberant synthwave number “Racing” comes after the moody darkwave-inspired “Looking For Something” and “Become.” Here, Hwang’s narratives oscillate between enchantment and infatuation, between chasing time and running far away from it, between past, present, and future. Nostalgia, as always, is nestled inside. Ultimately, Half Life speaks to the reality of being caught inside it all, the idea of being both within and without.