Cast Of Cheers – Family

As some of you may know, The Cast Of Cheers – Ireland’s balls-to-the-wall answer to the Foals – have released their just released their ‘debut’ signed outing Family. As some of you may also know, either from these pages back in 2010 or elsewhere, Family is really more of a second album, with the first being their DIY effort Chariot. It was an intriguing if rough round the edges amalgam of their favoured math rock and all out aggression. And people loved it. With over 150,000 downloads, Chariot was in fact a rather successful first attempt at this music lark, and so it’s of little surprise that whilst Family might be dubbed a debut, it shouldn’t be ashamed of its place as a second attempt. It takes everything Chariot does, cleans it in just the right places and throws out a superior product. Let’s dig in.

Between the producer Luke Smith (The Foals; ‘Total Life Forever’) and the band’s obvious development, Family is a resoundingly more polished album than Chariot ever was. With an often anti-polish stand here at HMCMB it’s with some delight that actually this makes a massive improvement to Cast Of Cheers’ sound, the musicianship and interesting idiosyncrasies of each track being far more audible through a cleaner, audible recording. Of course part of Chariot’s merit was it’s curious juxtaposition of a short, sharp binary-like genre with the aggression and serrated braggadocio of a Ducatti.

‘Goose’ is the only survivor of Chariot’s legion of math-punks, but, again, with the help of Luke Smith and no doubt a concerted effort by TCoC, it’s rough edges have been smoothed  over, yet the irresistible power behind hasn’t gone anywhere. This is really a theme that runs through the rest of the album. Distortion, overdrive, fizzle, crackle and pop may have been left outside the studio this time, but the real trick here is that this just allows for the inherent power and drive of Cast of Cheers’ pounding frenzy to break through.

The same energy found in Goose isn’t missed throughout the rest of Family, quite the opposite. From the genre declaring opening of the eponymous single ‘Family’, the hounding, angular guitar of their math rock leanings is met wholeheartedly by the thumping bass and percussion that handed TCoC their place as one of Ireland’s most exciting guitar bands. The increasing confidence and charisma of lead Conor Adam’s has also gifted the band with a breadth of new avenues. Be it the impassioned singing of Marso Sava or cheeky swagger of Human Elevator. It might be the energy and direction of TCoc that draws you near, but it’s their understated versatility that will keep your attention once the bass line has stopped echoing through your hippocampus.

First album, second album, it doesn’t matter. Family is a solid record from a very talented band. Not only does ‘Family’ strike the balance between continuity and diversity, it’s also an intoxicating stimulant – a feat far harder than it appears, and one that separates these guys as one of the more exciting guitar bands on the circuit right now. Check them out below.