The Cast Of Cheers -Family
Mon 7th May, 2012 in Music Reviews
For better or worse, Ireland upholds a proud tradition of family-focused exports: The Corrs. Jedward. B*Witched. Okay, sure: perhaps it’s not so proud a tradition after all. Nevertheless, brothers Conor and Neil Adams follow in their footsteps, fronting frenzied four-piece The Cast Of Cheers.
Family marks a kind of reboot for Irish math-rock group, their debut album, Chariot, seemingly rendered obscure despite its acclaim. It’s as if the band completely jettisoned the record, severing all ties with the release. As a result, Family is bound to become the first impression of the band the world is likely to receive – and, as first impressions go, Family is a fairly solid showing.
Family is bound to conjure talk of the band’s influences, The Cast Of Cheers frequently tapping into the form of Silent-Alarm -era Bloc Party with a dash of The Maccabees’ craft also evident in their expertise. Initially, it all smacks of one hell of an identity crisis, but its difficult to complain when Cheers’ songs – particularly their prospective singles – are executed as well as they are. The high-octane title-track sets the tone perfectly, giving a crucial first insight into the band’s frenetic, all-cylinders-firing brand of rock. The opener’s follow-up, Pose Mit, raises the bar, its rapid-fire guitar riff performed to precision. It’s made obvious from the outset that The Cast Of Cheers are a technically gifted bunch, a blistering six-string cacophony continually lurking, ever-ready to ignite.
Meanwhile, the smooth, bouncy swagger of Human Elevator sees a menagerie of squeals line jagged bursts of bass fuzz, the track both an accessible gem and a nice change of pace. It demonstrates that, even when grounded and somewhat restrained, The Cast Of Cheers are capable of great things. Animals wields an infectious melody, its jolly sea-shanty demeanor a treat. Curiously, the song has been left a tad untidy, percussion distorting. It doesn’t destroy Animals, but it is annoying and a generally confounding direction for the track.
The album’s single, Goose – while a sensible choice as leading track – does raise its fair share of issues. Though catchy enough, its lyrics resemble a primary-school-level maths problem. “I will never give my heart to anyone else but him and her. You will never give your heart to anyone else but her and me. He will never give his heart to anyone else but me and you. She will never give her heart away,” the opening verse explains, before a slight breather. You half expect the song to feature talk of a steam train travelling west at 100km/h. Goose, while infectious, is nonsensical. It’s placing as the 6th track is equally open to criticism as, by that stage, the record’s allure has begun to taper off.
The record demonstrates that perhaps you can have too much of a good thing, eventually running out of steam. By the end of the album, The Cast Of Cheers’ approach appears limited, verging on predictable, with tiny surprises acting as its saving grace (among them, a subtle electronic imposition surfacing every now and again).
At their best, The Cast Of Cheers are swiftly endearing, catchy and, on occasion, irresistible. However, a distinct lack of variety plagues Family, even in spite of a smattering of strong material. Overall, it’s a solid effort and worth a listen for its choice cuts, but as an entire beginning-to-end body of work, it’s far from flawless.