Jaguar Palace (Cosmic Dreamer)
Reviewed by Libby Webster, Fri., May 19, 2017
Shane Renfro's first full-length as RF Shannon, Jaguar Palace hums like a sprawl of desolate Texas in late summer. Renfro, who lives in Lockhart and sometimes Marfa, captures the way a desert breathes on all six tracks of his debut, a slowly unfurling psych/blues combo shrouded in haze. Eleven-minute sprawl "Hotevilla" simmers pedal steel and its author's pensive, soulful croon until weaving in a rapid-fire, quivering guitar line like a rattlesnake's death call. Frantic glimpses of flute flit in and out, meanwhile, introducing quiet and unexpected apprehension. The meandering "Tell My Horse" fields a narrator who sounds like he's unable to tell mirage from reality, sunburned and sweat-soaked and unloading all of his thoughts onto his animal companion. "Had a Revelation" chugs a bluesy, distorted riff, Renfro singing about a fire in his brain. Despite the pensive, idyllic instrumentation lending Jaguar Palace a mellow dreaminess, RF Shannon's debut thrums with darkness, a singular, isolated sound. Like the title "In the Wilds of My Mind" suggests, RF Shannon's exploring the strange, uncharted territory of a mental landscape as much as a physical one.