The Cast of Cheers – Family (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE Cast of Cheers are a difficult band not to like in some way. But they’re not as good as they should be either.
Hopes were raised following the impossibly catchy former single Animals, which remains a firm album favourite. But while the ensuing album Family, their second, is consistently appealing, it never quite delivers a song as emphatically good as that record.
Having signed to a new label in the wake of the success of their debut album, The Cast of Cheers spent a great deal of time whittling a total of 25 tracks down to just 10 (could there not have been a couple more?) and this is clearly the record that’s designed for them to make the leap to massive.
But it does kind of leave you wanting more… but not in the good way.
When it’s good, though, Family is a warm, friendly, toe-tapper of a listen.
Aside from Animals, Palace & Ruin is another of our favourites… a track that spins a mean historical yarn (complete with lyrics such as “off with your head”) and some really cute guitar licks.
While album opener Family showcases the meatier, brasher side of the band’s make-up, while lending credence to anyone’s argument that The Cast of Cheers are the new Bloc Party. Indeed, Conor Adams’ vocals really do stand up to comparison with Kele Okerere, sometimes shockingly so.
But maybe therein lies the album’s biggest problem as The Cast of Cheers are at their least convincing when sounding like other bands rather than themselves.
The similarly riotous Poce Mit is another case in point, with electronic shots running throughout the spiky guitar riffs and Adams once again doing his best Kele. It’s urgent, for sure, but it lacks the pleasing melodic structure of the likes of Animals.
Later on, Goose falls into the same track and lends the album an almost samey feel, while – in contrast – the more restrained, more melodic Go Getter manages to keep the same sense of urgency but with a warmer vibe and a less manic vocal from Adams that’s altogether more appealing.
Marso Sava, too, employs a better afro-beat style of energy that gets those toes tapping, while the guitars also lean towards an African vibe.
But Trucks At Night is all pent-up frustration and manic vocals as Adams attacks religion without really registering strongly, and They Call It A Race ends things on a curiously underwhelming note with another head-rush attempt of spiky riffs and strained vocals early on (the chorus does, however, redeem it partially).
It’s a shame because when The Cast of Cheers get it right, they’re really genuinely appealing. Maybe the best is yet to come from them.
Download picks: Animals, Palace & Run, Go Getter, Marso Sava