Album Review
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Cast Before the Break, The - Still Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.25
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8
Production 8.75
Creativity 7.75
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 81%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.43
Musicianship 9.18
Lyrics 8.89
Production 9.25
Creativity 8.93
Lasting Value 8.89
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Average: 90%

Cast Before the Break, The - Still

Reviewed by: Blake Solomon (07/31/09)
The Cast Before the BreakStill
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: August 18, 2009

But if I had only known what was to come. As Your Shoulders Turn On You was good, albeit cheesy. Its mall-goth artwork and storyline about a man stuck between death and whatever else there is intrigued me to a point. I was interested for a time, but I knew the band would need something more. And more is what we have on Still, although the quality increase has only come after serious self-editing. There’s less aping of Moving Mountains, less vocals, and less cheese. The Cast Before the Break are no longer a have-to-be-in-the-mood band. Their understanding of delicate textures and intriguing crescendos has increased to meteoric levels.

The creative process is one of trial and error. Quantity begets quality. Bands need time to fool around and find their true calling. Sometimes this takes three albums, or more commonly, it never happens. TCBTB needed the album equivalent of a long afternoon to realize that they were containing themselves in a much-too-restrictive frame. Their sound needs room to cultivate. This windows-open aesthetic lends itself to songs like six-minute “Sleep” or ear-smashing “A Series of Rooms,” which create narratives similar to the dogged delicacy of the world’s best novelists. TJ Foster’s languid delivery has lost most of its angst, only to be replaced by a deeper, more intriguing weariness. That’s not to say that Still is carefree, but this album’s certainly more relatable. When he switches to falsetto on “Perspectives,” it is for effect and necessity. These words don’t just flow out; they must be forced. He painfully yearns: “If you left it up to me / I’d write my own eulogy.” Hard to hear? Sure. Easy to listen to? Of course.

The force of Shoulders hasn’t been completely forgotten, though. “Canyons” uses feedback and distortion as a landing pad for the disembodied screams of its second half. Ryan Crosby’s drums do some seriously inventive tempo changes while the band wails with the disgruntled passion of a lover scorned. It’s Mono meets Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and I’m not going to hell for saying that. Closer “A Breath of Fresh Air” is instrumental and emotionally jarring. To think that this band could make such progressions, both between albums and within Still, makes me overjoyed despite the album’s downtrodden themes. Bands don’t typically grow like this. As a friend said, “I like things that are stylistically similar, but still made to stand on their own.” Still and As Your Shoulders Turn On You are clearly born of the same creators, but the newest incarnation is more precise in its mood. The band has mined its strengths and also searched out new ones. It’s a self-aware progression, one that can’t move forward without peering behind. And clearly, it’s a formula for monumental success.

Recommended If You Like: Moving Mountains, The Appleseed Cast, corners, "Brand New loves static!", Exacto knives

As far as I'm concernedwww.absolutepunk.net/thecastbeforethebreak
Displaying posts 1 - 11 of 11
05:25 PM on 07/31/09
Hal Galardi
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hell yea
06:06 PM on 07/31/09
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elude2oneself's Avatar
I love how dead-on you are about how completely different the two albums are. I'm really excited to see how far this one can go.. It's definitely more accessible to the general public and more inventive than the last one.

Congrats on a great album, guys.

onward, fame?
06:33 PM on 07/31/09
I just need reassurance.
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Shakriel's Avatar
RIYL: Moving Mountains and The Appleseed Cast? Definitely checking this release out now.
06:42 PM on 07/31/09
dawn afterglow
Registered User
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dawn afterglow's Avatar
I love how dead-on you are about how completely different the two albums are. I'm really excited to see how far this one can go.. It's definitely more accessible to the general public and more inventive than the last one.

Congrats on a great album, guys.

onward, fame?
Couldn't have said it better myself.

Once again, a great review, Blake!
09:03 PM on 07/31/09
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my boys: unbelievable job. love it.
11:45 PM on 07/31/09
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limus's Avatar
one of the best cd this year for sure
04:26 PM on 08/01/09
things mean a lot at the time
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GuitarR0cker1's Avatar
so in other words this is post-rocky scene music? sounds cool.
05:12 PM on 08/01/09
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Gregory Robson's Avatar
No one loves Exacto knives. No one.
09:49 PM on 08/02/09
we will set sail the prairie
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TriangularDuck's Avatar
However, it is completely possible to like Exacto knives.
06:51 PM on 08/12/09
Registered User
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Awesome review, awesome album. However, if you're hoping for something similar to AYSTOY, you may be in for a disappointment. I went into it expecting something completely different, and because of that readiness, I loved it. So be prepared for that, but also be prepared to hear more about these dudes.
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