The epic opener Onward Love sets the mood instantly. The magical intro leads into a sound-heavy pounding which opens the door for a musical spectacle as the song eases into a rhythmically and melodically sophisticated and varied body. You can let the music take over and let go of everything else. The fact that there are hardly any vocals is something you hardly notice and provides a welcome change of scenery. And when the vocals have a subtle presence in the 4th minute they only add to the wealth of music in this opening track.
From The Earth, At A Crossroad
Very smoothly the album turns to its 2nd song, From The Earth, At A Crossroad. If you listen carefully you can hear how the rhythm of the song very strongly supports the Death Cab-influenced lyrics (and the vocals have a Ben Gibbard-like quality as well). The music has a much wider and louder sound that is closer to The Receiving End of Sirens or As Cities Burn, or maybe you should just put that all in a melting pot and create something relatively new which, for sake of argument, we can call The Cast Before The Break. The band executes this mix of styles and influences with near perfection and a strong sense of musicality speaks from it.
Agnosia is next in line. This sophisticated song has a real alternative feel to it and varies in tempo and sound smoothly and this way it creates a magical, mystical mood that fits the song very well. The romanticizing harmonies and strong melodic underlining of the song bring this song to a full bloom that makes you notice it among other songs in the genre. It doesn’t have the epic strength (though the ending of the song is spectacular) of the previous song, but sure does have the ability to speak to the listener.
Understanding The Universe
This track is on of the strongest on this album. The piano, combined with a Postal Service like sound creates something special, and immediately draws you to the song, and even into the song. It then speeds up the song and gives it a more haunting and epic sound which makes this song evolve into even more than it already was. When the song eases into its middle part, the piano takes the foreground again and the song keeps varying these influences perefectly. The Cast Before The Break does this better than anyone probably and with the strong lyrical presence on Understanding The Universe, this song is a serious contender to the title of best track on the album.
There is a very interesting sound present on Cerca Trova and the vocals have a more prominent role than during the previous tracks. And as they help to carry the song, it slowly builds up to a momentum. The musical explosions in parts of the song have interesting hooks and contrast well with the more calmly played parts in between. While Cerca Trova is a song that shows great musicality it cannot meet up with songs like Understanding The Universe and From The Earth, At A Crossroad.
Relying On A Respirator
Relying On A Respirator is an acoustic-based song with a very ambient, indie ring to it. The vocals and vocal harmonies and the ambient sound create something very different from what we’ve heard so far, and it is done quite well. The Cast Before The Break shows they can change face and do it convincingly and tastefully. When the song gets more body halfway in, you can hear the strong musical sensibility in this band as they naturally work their way up to the last part of the song where they cleverly end this album and leaving the fans and listeners very satisfied.
The Cast Before The Break emerges as a musical force with talent, passion and energy. While the band isn’t afraid to venture into experimental places with their music, a certain pop sensibility is never far away. The music is clever and honest and builds to magical momentums. With this stellar debut a firm statement has been made that The Cast Before The Break has only just begun.