Monday 12 October 2015

Caustic Casanova - Breaks (Album Review)

Release date: September 25th 2015. Label: Retro futurist. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Breaks – Tracklisting
1.Thundersnow 07:27
2.Show Some Shame 04:04
3.Elect My Best Friend for a Better World 09:27
4.Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues 04:42
5.The Forgiveness Machine 06:38
6.No Sky July 09:34
7.The Painted Desert 12:26

Band Members:

Francis Beringer - bass/vocals
Stefanie Zaenker - drums/vocals
Andrew Yonki - guitar


Caustic Casanova is a band I’ve just came across when I was sent their new album – Breaks to review. Caustic Casanova has been round since 2005. Wow. And I’ve never heard of them until now. Oh well, better late than never. Newly signed to Kylesa record label – Retro Futurist, their new album – Breaks is one that’s very hard to describe. Parts Sludge, Doom, Stoner, Psych, Noise Rock and even Indie Rock. Caustic Casanova has there own approach to heavy based music. If you’re a fan of Kylesa, Torche and Helms Alee then you better check this album out now as Breaks is a sheer heavy musical delight from start to finish.

Opening track – Thundersnow – has a heavy sludge rock approach though it has a lovely psychedelic pop feel that Torche/Floor are known for. The dual vocals of Stephanie and Francis give this song an exciting lo-fi post-punk vibe as the band will confuse and delight you in equal measure. The album has quite a schizophrenic feel as the band throw almost every kind of heavy rock genre at you. The band even includes traces of Space Rock towards the end of the song. You can see why they were signed to Retro Futurist as they have a lot in common with Kylesa. It’s a fantastic sound which the rest of the album follows.

Second track – Show Some Shame – is an upbeat Sludge/Stoner/Psych Rock number with fast-paced guitars and spiky pop based vocals courtesy of Francis. Stephanie’s drumming is a constant threat through out and when the dual vocals return you can’t help thinking this band would be brilliant touring partners for Torche. It’s perhaps the recognisable Doom/Sludge pop vibe that Torche is known for but Caustic Casanova create their own style of addictive sludge pop. This is one of the albums standout tracks.

Third track – Elect My Best Friend For A Better World – as you may tell from the title itself is a more personal and bleaker tale compared to the opening two tracks. It’s a doomier affair with intricate post-punk riffs that slowly builds the atmosphere for the heavier riffs to come crashing in. It does take time for them to appear but the song runs for 9:30 mins and it’s a highly emotional song. Once the Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs arrive you’re confronted with a bleak atmosphere as the band has written bleak lyrics that have power to bring a tear to your eye. Though the power of the riff compels me more to go into full HEADBANGING mode and I’m ashamed to say that I did.

Fourth track – Quezalteca Deathswitch Blues – may have a crazy title and one that only Caustic Casanova knows the true meaning of. The band switch musical gears yet again. This is more of a Doom/Post-Punk/Stoner sound with the dual vocals having an Indie Rock vibe. The vocals maybe quite jarring for some to enjoy but I dig them as these vocals have passion and an identity all of their own.

Fifth track – The Forgiveness Machine – opens with a thumping bass line before the usual sludgy/doomy guitars kick in. It’s played at a deliberate slow-pace with Francis’s vocals being the main focus whilst the music becomes heavier and more psychedelic as time passes by.

The last two songs – No Sky July and The Painted Desert – take up 21 minutes of the albums run time and both perhaps contain the albums heaviest sounds and more far-out ideas as Caustic Casanova in creating a surreal trippy psychedelic vibe, The sounds drift from Post-Punk, Space, Stoner, Sludge and Doomy atmospherics whilst offering a bleak pop sensibility. Yeah it can be confusing at times but you’re never bored for a second. Even I don’t know what is going on from time to time but that’s what makes this album so exciting. It dares to be different from other albums out there.

Breaks is a surreal and psychedelic out-of-control sludge riff fest and one that can be classed as one of the most innovative albums of the year. I had low expectations for this album and I always love albums more that not only defy genre conventions but my own expectations as well. Yeah, I loved this album. Breaks is going to end up as one of my fave records of 2015.

Thanks to Michelle at Noisy Ghost PR for the promo. Breaks is available to buy now on CD/DD from Retro Futurist Records. Vinyl will be released via Retro Futurist Records at a later date.

Words by Steve Howe