The Cast of Cheers - Family (School Boy Error Recordings)
CD / DL
The new album from Irish band Cast of Cheers has recently been released. It's not without elements of the Paul Simon about it which, as Phil Neeson explains, isnt such a bad thing.
Dublin band, this lot, who put out their previous long-player Chariot free to download, and while this bit of generosity didn't get the mass publicity that Radiohead did when they let the buyer decide what to pay for one of their albums - admittedly a couple of years previously (is this the same thing?) - it didn't go unnoticed either because I for one remember reading about it somewhere. So there!
This record-- the follow-up to the free one-- kicks off with two twitchy, intense, played-to-the-clock numbers (the title track, and Poce Mit). It's also very post-Bloc Party, and though I'm not usually taken by something that can be described thus, I don't mind the angular simplicity of what this band do (if this description isn't some sort of contradiction).
You see, you sort of know where you stand with The Cast of Cheers (not a great name for a band, I know). I'm also hearing early Foals lots here (who themselves could be described as post-Bloc Party); with the rushed, staccato pulse of the instruments, and syllable-by-syllable, short-sharp vocal style. There is, though, an unmistakable tightness, even restraint to what The Cast of Cheers do that equally has to be admired.
As the album moves along things start to resemble Brooklyn's Vampire Weekend circa 2009-- see also "white boys doing Afrobeat"-- especially for tracks Human Elevator, and the follower Animals. I read somewhere that the band were listening to Paul Simon during the recording of this record, and I guess this is evident. Personally I liked the immediate early blast of the first couple of tracks, but maybe there is extra mileage to be had with the more slower-paced and thoughtful songs, such as Palace and Run, and Marso Sava-- good examples of what The Cast of Cheers can do if they hold back a little.
The thing is, and this can't be denied either, Family is a record that would have sounded better, and a little more fresh, about eight years ago but it is now 2012 and this sort of thing has been done to death, to be honest. Still, a conservative mark out of ten for this record would be a six, while a more generous one would be around seven, and today I'm feeling generous. To finish this review on a clichÃÂ©; The Cast of Cheers are at least good at what it is they do, this much is certainly clear when listening to them.