Cassels – Epithet (Big Scary Monsters)
|Cassels - Epithet|
Release Date: Out Now
Chipping Norton brothers Cassels may have produced one of the most important albums of 2017 with their debut ‘Epithet’. Now, I’m not saying it’s the best necessarily but what the duo have done here is create a collection of nine raw and urgent songs that speak exactly of the kind of world we find ourselves in right now from a very British perspective. Opening with some deceptively optimistic guitar notes and cymbal work, ‘Coup’ soon erupts in a clash of angry chords and erupting drums before the opening line, the first many brilliant lyrical barbs delivered by Jim Beck; “we form an
army of waifs and strays, caught somewhere between the minimum and living wage”.
‘Let’ opens with sombre recorded speech (Churchill, I presume) before that sound clash kicks off again with something akin to At the Drive-In levels of power, chaos and aggression as the brothers take on the spread of EDL/BNP/UKIP racist acronymic ideology within the suburbs of middle England. On ‘War is a Really Clever Metaphor for Divorce’, there is a definite feeling that they’ve been listening to the bleaker corners of Jamie Lenman’s work while ‘Where Baseball Was Invented’ continues the angular, experimental and angry theme with relentless energy – there are no ballads to be found here so stop looking. The reason that this album is so important is partly because it is unashamedly not looking to be popular or sell big numbers, partly because the lyrics are so wonderfully spot on and partly because the music takes from the great pioneers of guitar music and protest like the Fall, At the Drive-In, Million Dead, Reuben, the Sex Pistols and numerous others. Big footsteps to follow in.
|Cassels - the brothers Beck|
The lumbering drums that begin ‘You Turn on Utopia’ are soon joined by a rippling guitar line and those dead pan vocals that are a trade mark of the band. ‘Sepia Good Times’ is a shattering, blood curdling wake-up call to anyone still living in or for a version of the past that has no relevance or today’s reality, all set to Jazz tinged guitar and drum interplay. For 55 seconds, ‘This Song Has A’ screams in your face like a drunk Mike Skinner pumped up on Carlsberg and clarity with lyrics that come rapid fire; “Don’t rile her up, back in next day with Kalashnikovs, done in a train just outside Lowestoft, who knows what they’re capable of? Who knows what they’re capable of? Lock them up. Re-open the asylums”. There is a moment of calm on Motor Skills that is closer to Billy Bragg than anything else but with that familiar unpredictability and aggression.
The album closes on probably it’s most melodic moment in ‘Chewed Up Cheeks’ where an actual riff meets the kind of lyric that makes you smile and feel sad at the same time, “one of those days where your face feels like a Papier Mache approximation of a face”. Half way through, there’s some spoken word from around the 40s or 50s about thinking of yourself as a pressure cooker before the brothers use up every last morsel of energy and then leave a rhythmic feedback loop stuttering in to the ether as a goodbye, of sorts. Destined to fill stadiums? Not on your life but destined to fill minds with ideas, questions and new thoughts, for sure. And I don’t think they’d have it any other way.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/casselsband/
15th November – Green Door Store, Brighton w/Single Mothers
16th November – Kamio, London
17th November – The Flapper, Birmingham w/Single Mothers
18th November – Star And Garter, Manchester w/Single Mothers
19th November – 13th Note, Glasgow w/Single Mothers
21st November – Brudenell Community Room, Leeds w/Single Mothers
22nd November – The Bodega, Nottingham w/Single Mothers
23rd November – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff w/Single Mothers