RECORD REVIEW: Casual Future – “Footnotes in the City Lights”

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On their debut album, Casual Future gets into character as musicians from the slacker set, slinging well-penned quips filled with cynicism and absurdity, while keeping pretty level heads.  It’s a well-balanced act owing much to lead singer Scott Spice’s almost ho-hum delivery, dancing drunkenly over lyrics finely calculated and clever.

This slouchy posture is propped up by the steady hand of Todd Jacops, on double duty as the entirety of the rhythm section.  Acoustic strumming throughout is tempered by Dustin Thomas’s caustic lead, often following ably, but perhaps foregrounded too infrequently.

Establishing their conceptual cleverness with opener “Abbrev.,” momentum threatens to dead-end with similar sounding grooves on “Light Pollution” and “Under the Affluence.”  It’d be a shame to step off here, as “Bury Me on the Moon” starts a string of standout songs simultaneously left of center and more pop-informed, book-ended by the stellar “Everyone Wants a Debutante.”

The band does well to stray from their comfort zone, as the culmination of the record dives back into a sonic territory that risks becoming indistinguishable.  It’s in this portion of the record that the band strikes a genuine emotional chord, achieving more through nuance.  Nate Schneible’s acumen for production shines here, with studio atmospherics providing a narrative texture for the album’s artful final arc.  Closer “Melatonin” is a succinct summation of the album’s virtues, a chorus of voices chiming in to help Scott usher the listener out in an eerie, heart warming way.

– by Matt Collander