Band â€â€œ The Cast Of Cheers
Album â€â€œ Chariot
Label â€â€œ None
Release date â€â€œ out now for free download at bandcamp (physical release April)
Sounds like â€â€œ Kelsey Grammer passing out after 17 pints of mild.
Those readers getting excited about finally finding a band that have recorded a concept album about Ted Danson and a group of alcoholic misanthropes should be prepared for bitter disappointment. Whilst the prospect of hearing a load of songs regaling the supposed ‘comedy goldâ€™ of a load of American actors I donâ€™t find funny may appeal to some, I just thank the gods that The Cast Of Cheers reference this show in name alone.
Listening through ‘Chariotâ€™ there are times when you feel youâ€™ve got it nailed on what â€œtheir sound isâ€Â, only for the next track to bulldoze that constructed idea and begin speedily creating another from the ground up. The Cast Of Cheers flitter between compact passages of twisted instrumental musings; spliced with broken vocal shrieks and a tight dance-punk mentality.
Thereâ€™s a somewhat techno-blurring of sound on opening track ‘Gooseâ€™; which is content to splice a straight forward indie-rock tune, with glitching vocal stutters, deep basslines and robotic drum patterns. The complexity lies somewhere in the structure created by the guitars, which weave between part math-rock and part pop at a relentless pace. ‘I Am Lionâ€™ shares similarities with ‘Gooseâ€™ to begin with, but starts to crack out of that template. The scribbled background guitar howls that meld beautifully with the heavy bass lead give the track a weird ethereal quality; whilst the tight percussion gives a nod towards spasmodic bounce of ‘Atlasâ€™ by Battles.
Obviously, having contacts with the record label The Richter Collective, means The Cast Of Cheers are given scope and retain a certain sound from their experiences and relationships with other bands on that label. These will of course have some influence on their sound as it bleeds through, changing and expanding a bandâ€™s sound and developing new pathways. Third track ‘Tip The Canâ€™ contains obvious elements of the prog-math-punk-chaos that is Adebisi Shank; itâ€™s a heavy nod towards the driving pace of their track ‘Minirockersâ€™. The guitars take on that rolling keyboard-yowl of being half-mangled, yet still perfectly composed and in tune, whilst the drumming kicks into a more sporadic gear. The vocals appear softer; more soothing â€â€œ but still slightly distorted and incredibly sincere as opposed to their usual bark. Excellent use of backing vocal stutters, which sound like some peculiar mystical chant gone wrong. A wonderful piece and most definitely one of the stand-out tracks on this release.
The technical wizardry of The Cast Of Cheersâ€™ guitarists is exemplified on ‘Auricomâ€™; a track that not only contains the scream of ‘Iâ€™M NOT YOUR FUCKING DEPUTYâ€™ but some incredibly strange jazz-meets-computer game blips and bleeps and see-sawing rhythms. Itâ€™s like trying to condense and then interpret Tron into 3 and a half minutes of music. The Rob Schneider-approved 5th track ‘Derpâ€™ incorporates club land drum beats with a throaty bass heave and tappy, yet elaborate flourishes of bouncing noise-pop. ‘Strangersâ€™ kind of stumbles slightly â€â€œ being the token slower track it feels a bit lost, but the intricacies make up for this as itâ€™s soft, dream-like nature is a soothing calm against the exhilarating rush of the previous raucousness.
The ‘screaming through a load of radio staticâ€™ vocal technique is once again applied on ‘Tigerfoxâ€™ as the yell ofÃ‚Â â€œIs there any fucking love in here?â€Â is halfway between the recording of a drunken answer phone message and passionate plea for adoration. The atmospheric shrillness of the closing minute mixes nicely with the prog-based rhythmic build before cutting off with sudden abruptness. Despite the jaunty bounce of ‘Autoshottieâ€™, its lyrics are somewhat miserable and bizarre. The shout of â€œCrooked vampire! Super James Dean!â€Â fools the listener into thinking itâ€™s yet another lyrical non-sequitur of nonsense shouts. However, what follows touches on a darker aspect: â€œI am alone hereâ€Â¦.autoshottieâ€Â¦.I have lost, everybodyâ€Â¦I feel nothingâ€Â¦.autoshottieâ€Â â€â€œ itâ€™s all in the delivery â€â€œ this dark, dejected, almost suicidal tone that is in stark contrast to the upbeat nature of the music.
‘Deceptapunkâ€™ is a disjointed piece, favouring dense instrumental passages of sound, interspersed with ghostly vocal whispers and soft electronic fades that seem grounded in the 80s. The final track, ‘Glitterâ€™ starts with a jaunty circus-style stomp, before leading into a scuzzy bass line and those barbed vocals that seem to hiss and spit every word with Alan-Rickman-esque distaste. The luscious swirl of noise that follows is pitched in post-rock territory, oddly complimenting the tappy-prog of the tracks stammering build.
‘Chariotâ€™ is intelligent, direct, impressively tight and concise dance-punk that embraces a hopeful pop edge into its noisy prog-rock inventiveness. Fans of Adebisi Shank, Battles, Errors, dancing like youâ€™ve been electrocuted need apply straight away; The Cast Of Cheers could be one of the best kept secrets of the musical underground. Make sure you know their name.
By Ross Macdonald