Borne out of Australia’s Blue Mountains in 2007, dream-pop duo Castratii forged for itself an aesthetic shrouded in hazy, haunting wonder. For three years, visual artists Beauvais Cassidy and Jonathan Wilson crafted textured soundscapes of doom and gloom that, combined with ambient and shoegaze undertones, seemed to reflect the expansive wilderness that surrounded them. Yet in 2010, the addition of The Duke Spirit’s Leila Moss and her ethereal vocals only enhanced the group’s already complex and haunting sound.
With two EPs under its belt, Castratii now releases its debut full-length as a trio, Eora, named after the aboriginal name for Sydney. In just 35 minutes, it manages to traverse the vast terrain of its namesake, capturing both its barren and lush landscapes. An experiment in tones, the album moves seamlessly from darkness to light, from heaviness to ethereal bliss. On its titular track, grimy, industrial beats provide the backdrop for Moss’ moody contribution before moving to the second track, “”Limits,” where her vocals float over pulsing synths and drone guitars.
The album continues to develop this contrast before hitting one of its standout tracks, “Kingdom.” Here, Eora enters the caves by which it was inspired, beginning with racing, doom-fueled sounds, becoming more richly layered with dark, almost sinister vocals and volatile guitars. The closing tracks explore even deeper within these caves, moving from dark and dense to a hazy weightlessness, capturing the moment when the unknown inspires terror and then awe.