Album Review: Casavettes — ‘Senselessness’

Posted: by The Editor

In recent years quite a few bands have made names for themselves by injecting post-hardcore grit into the classic Midwest emo sound. Record Setter, awakebutstillinbed, and Reservoir come to mind as bands who’ve made a name for themselves seamlessly blending together the two genres. The most recent addition to this list is Limerick, Ireland, trio Casavettes, whose debut LP Senselessness is, ironically, one of 2019’s first notable Midwest emo records.

The six-and-a-half minute opening epic “With People in Mind” immediately clues listeners in on what to expect. Soft arpeggios give way to soft vocals and suddenly it’s 1997. Yes, Senselessness calls on all the giants of yesteryear—Mineral, Benton Falls, Sunny Day Real Estate are obvious touchstones—but around the three minute mark the song changes gear and picks up in a way those bands rarely did. Diarmuid O’Shea’s voice raises to a shout, and very nearly a scream by the time the second chorus comes around.

To be clear, this is the formula for a good deal of the record: begin softly to lull listeners in with expectations of a meditative EndSerenading-style dirge, then kick them in the face with a heavy chorus of distorted guitars and gruff shouts. To be clear, it’s not an entirely unique formula (even within the genre) but Casavettes happen to do that sort of thing damn well. It’s always been an unspoken rule of the genre that emotion takes precedence over anything else, and Casavettes sells every line, every riff, every note.

Interestingly, perhaps because of the ubiquitousness of this structure, the standout tracks are the ones that bucks that trend. The album’s pre-release single was centerpiece “I’m Not Here, I’m Somewhere Else,” which builds to a climax that never comes, giving listeners some welcome breathing room. It meanders with the same self-assured patience as a Christie Front Drive track, teasing a cathartic bridge with a crescendoing drumroll before pulling back to the same winding guitar lead.

Casavettes certainly have potential and “I’m Not Here” offers a glimpse into that. It’s clear they’ve got a great record in them; if they rely less on that quiet-loud structure that dominates Senselessness on LP2, they might reach the level of those touchstone bands mentioned above. For now, though, Senselessness is a more than worthy debut for the band and almost surely a sign of better things to come.

Disappointing / Average / GoodGreat / Phenomenal

Zac Djamoos | @greatwhitebison

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