Kids These Daze is a detailed description of the world’s musical genres, interpreted by Casey and the Comrades. It’s as though they’re telling you about their worldly travels, but this time, you’ll actually want to hear about someone else’s vacation stories. Casey Cranford (of BIG Something) and friends, have fused a wide variety of sounds together that add spice to their jam band undertones – and strung together, it makes for a very exciting album.
In their press release, they say “listeners will find a completely original sound” Completely original? No. But when you step back and look at the big picture, then yes – the execution of the album is fairly original. Special guests like, Nick MacDaniels, Becca Stevens, Paul Hanson, Billy Cardine, Saxton Rose, Nate Werth, and Lucy Woodward, bring their impressive musical talents to the table, which makes each track unique and dissectible.
One thing that allows them to be so eclectic is the EWI (electronic wind instrument) played by Casey Cranford. His instrument can emulate the sounds of most winded instruments, allowing the group to morph into different genres. The saxophone is the most prominent sound we hear throughout the album, which can be heard playing the extremely memorable licks on “H1N1” and “ExciteBikeRack.” Speaking of – these tracks are the most interesting and energetic of the bunch. In “H1N1” We’re thrown straight into, what feels like a sandstorm raging through the Arabian deserts. We dive and fall into a fast paced race through memorable licks and avant garde solos. Then we’re seamlessly dropped into heavy, dense breakdowns that keep things spicy. The whole track is 7:39 second roller coaster of sound.
In “ExciteBikeRack,” we feel this sense of constant forward movement, coupled with hard hitting left and right turns, which allows for an ideal space to solo over in a live and studio setting. The hardest hitting turn is the rap break by TommyBlaze336. Not something we hear often in a “psychedelic space fusion” band, as they have proclaimed themselves to be.
Aptly named, “Fall” is the jazziest of the album. We feel like we’re free falling through space, with our attention being gently directed to the wide array of solos from a lush saxophone and bright keyboard, brought to us by Julian Sizemore. The track does drone on a for a while but as it ends, we feel ourselves “surviving the fall” as the lyrics go, and finally reaching the ground, entering the next song of the album.
So is this a “completely original sound” as proclaimed? In the grand expanse of time, no, it’s not original. So many key aspects go into making a sound that is distinguishable and different from anything else. Someone’s very unique voice, guitar tone or production tactics, are what give a band a unique sound. Somehow, we’ve heard these songs before. We’ve seen cooky instruments in a jam band, we’ve heard a jam band use Middle Eastern/ Arabic tones and scales, we’ve seen the concept album about how technology is double edged sword, and we’ve experienced the psychedelic space jam band. But again this should not undercut the fact that this album is interesting, impressive, full of creative licks and hooks.
It’s always impressive when people master their instruments, when groups of six or more can collectively agree on a vision, and make it come to life in a well executed and precisely produced manner. But being one of a kind doesn’t mean adding layers and layers of instruments and fussing every known genre together. It’s something that comes naturally, even accidentally, over years and years. We hope this group reaches that threshold, where we the listeners can hear a song, a lick, or vocalist, play something that is quintessentially Casey and the Comrades, because it’s obvious these men and women have the talent to make it happen.
Key Tracks: H1N1, ExciteBikeRack, Fall
Key Tracks: H1N1, ExciteBikeRack, Fall