Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Cast Of Cheers – Family

The Cast Of Cheers ‘sort-of’ (i.e. on a label for the first time) debut album comes out today. This is old ground on Horses Playing Harps, but it’s still a great story. An album they recorded a couple of years ago in a few days > available on the bandcamp website for free > shitloads of downloads > signed up sharpish. So it’s difficult to know what to call Family by The Cast of Cheers. From listening to it this week, it’s clear we should be referring to it as their second album, because it’s a gentle evolution of sound from Chariot, the aforementioned free album.

It’s still spiky, sharp and melodic math-rock in places, but it’s all reigned in a little bit more than on the previous album, and this is a sound that works for them. Whereas Chariot was quite prickly and jagged, Family feels like it has had more time to rest and mature, with slow-burning poppish elements seeping into the sound, making this album feel like a real keeper.

It feels like they have tamed a tiger. Sure, its claws are filed down, but it’s still capable of giving you a decent brawl, and therefore all a little bit more lovable because of it. Opening track ‘Family’ is a loopy and fretful template for The Cast Of Cheers sound, before the softer and more thoughtful ‘Posé Mit’ shows off their musical prowess with a calmer catchyness displayed.

‘Goose’ is the perfect case-in-point. It’s the only track to make the journey from Chariot to Family, but it feels and sounds like it has had time to settle and gestate, with everything sounding more polished and primed. As it descends into the franticness of the bridge, the yelpy verses feel as if they are counterbalanced more expertly with the jagged guitar riffs. While the raw energy of Chariot was admirable, this well-rounded approach feels fuller and more rewarding.

They show some nice other touches and flourishes across the album. On ‘Marso Sava’, electro beats are employed to create a glorious afrobeat skittishness as the track floats along. The vocals flicker between low asides and high pitch chants of “Marco Sava!” The Cast Of Cheers – Family

Family feels like the complete package. If you come to this band as a new listener, it’s simple enough. It’s polished, it’s catchy-as-hell and it’s a lot of fun. More fun than fighting a wild tiger anyway. But hey, if you want to do that too, make sure you check out Chariot too.

 

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Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan

Looks can be deceiving. I recently reviewed an album for another site which was simply called ‘☤’ (by Run, Walk!). I’m really not a fan of pretentious outside-of-the-box band names/track names/album titles, although the album itself ended winning me over. So I guess it serves as a lesson not to judge something by its cover.

On that note, hey! There’s a new Dirty Projectors album out! Or at least, it will be soon. The album is called Swing Lo Magellan and is currently streaming over on the Guardian website. For those unaware of their previous M.O. (apologies, I started watching Band of Brothers again), they make spiraling indie-pop that  regularly shifts gear and wanders off in interesting directions.

So after a minute of the opening track ‘Offspring Are Blank’, I was enjoying an R&B jacked ditty. But suddenly, out of nowhere comes this ferocious guitar lick, like a hot rock knife slicing through that R&B butter. This ferocious dichotomy continues on unabashed for the remainder of the track, showing that we should never get too set in our ways, or to become too expectant of what is to come. Especially on a Dirty Projectors record.

Here’s some ‘Offspring Are Blank’ Youtube goodness for you.