Follow Us on Twitter

Cast – Troubled Times (Review)

Cast, Troubled Times

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IT MAY be 15 years after the release of Cast’s million-selling debut All Change but comeback album Troubled Times makes it sound like they’ve never been away.

With the help of original producer John Leckie (of Stone Roses and Radiohead fame), the band have crafted an album full of anthemic, melodic and extremely catchy songs that couldn’t have arrived at a better time for them.

With The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, New Order and Inspiral Carpets all back on the scene as well, 2012 is already feeling like a proper indie revival. Cast’s presence merely exacerbates that feeling, while serving as a potent reminder of why that particular music scene was so damn good.

Cast’s songs mostly follow a strict formula of notable guitar riffs and gutsy vocals from John Power, all of which are married to strong choruses.

And so from the opening moments of Bow Down, with its breezy guitar intro, questioning lyrics (“where is the love that’s all around?”) and punchy chorus, you get the sense you’re in for a treat.

The Sky’s Got A Gaping Hole also contains some of the album’s best hooks… ones that recall the band’s heyday while sounding fresh and exciting to boot. While the vocals offer Power’s opinions on the screwed up global environment with its gaping holes in the sky and warmed up temperatures.

Former single See That Girl opens with the type of guitar riff that recalls classic The La’s (of There She Goes fame), while offering another breezy song of immense listening pleasure (even though it’s born from heartache). The chorus is another belter and made for singing along (“I see that girl, she’s always in my head, no matter how hard I try, she’s hard to forget”).

Elsewhere, Bad Waters flirts with a country vibe to offset its indie elements, coming over slightly more brooding and finding Power opening with the telling vocal: “When I think of the things I’ve squandered in my life.” It’s a nice change of pace early on, before then opening up into proper rhythm and blues territory.

Hold on Tight is rife with more sharp hooks, classic guitar riffs and a hip-shaking vibe that’s difficult to resist (and a summer anthem in waiting), Brother Fighting Brother opts for a more melancholy, soulful vibe to deliver its heartbreaking tale of sibling rivalry (Power’s vocals sound crestfallen), and Time Bomb is shot through with cracking layered guitar riffs and another absorbing tale of self-doubt and recrimination.

Yet, as ever, while the lyrics have a heaviness to them, the delivery of the instrumentals is as breezy as hell and almost certain to get your toes tapping along.

By the time you hit final track Tear It Apart (All Over Again), another of the album’s more brooding tracks, you’ll be reflecting on just how much you’ve enjoyed the whole experience.

And while cynics (and some critics) may argue that Cast’s comeback doesn’t mark that much of an evolution for them sonically, it shouldn’t put you off rediscovering what made them one of Britain’s great guitar bands in the first place… or even hearing them for the first time. Compared to some of today’s new and over-hyped indie bands, these guys are showing how it’s done best.

Download picks: Bow Down, See That Girl, The Sky’s Got A Gaping Hole, Bad Waters, Hold on Tight, Time Bomb

Track listing:

  1. Bow Down
  2. Troubled Thoughts
  3. The Sky’s Got A Gaping Hole
  4. See That Girl
  5. Not Afraid of the World
  6. Silver And Gold
  7. Bad Waters
  8. Hold On Tight
  9. A Boy Like Me
  10. Brother Fighting Brother
  11. Time Bomb
  12. Tear It Apart (All Over Again)