Casey are something very special.
Relationships, like the very people they are comprised of, do not merely represent one single moment, idea or even a single emotion. The two-lane street that is a relationship, especially that of the romantic kind, is more often than not, a shifting dynamic of love, euphoria, passion and lust. But it can also be awash with anger, sadness, disappointment, or even bitter regret and sheer resentment. It's the latter side of this spectrum of human love and emotion that is superbly represented on ‘Love Is Not Enough’; the blistering debut record from Casey.
For those unaware, last year this emotionally-charged, up and coming South Wales quintet released their debut album ‘Love Is Not Enough’ under Hassle Records in their native UK. However, this damned solid 11-track release is only just now seeing a proper Australian appearance – hence this review - and supplying a perfect Winter soundtrack for Australia's current and forthcoming seasonal climate no less.
Like many others in their genre, Casey's music falls well under the ever-widening umbrella of melodic hardcore and post-hardcore, and their mixture of spoken word, dynamic vocals, punchy emotive hardcore and softer, melodic instrumentals has been done countless times before. Are they original? God no. Do they make solid, well-written and very well executed music? You're goddamned right! Whereas others merely become cool-for-a-day groups or get lost in the rabbit hole of the never-ending Dreambound video list, Casey stands out from the pack. This is in part due to the truly palpable emotional and honest lyricism that drenches their music - this debut record included - and the maturity in which it tackles failed relationships, bleak retrospection, mental health, family and the grey areas found in between each of those subjects. (Plus, the band's great track record for creative, visually interesting music videos also does them very well).
Yet it’s also in how while Casey doesn't break new ground for their genre, they nail a near-flawless execution of the two ideals that encompass their sound - ‘melodic’ and ‘hardcore’. Dynamically, ‘Love Is Not Enough’ sonically moves through the many emotional troughs of flawed human relationships. From the dark timbres, moodier melodies and atmospheric lulls in ‘Darling’, 'Happy', ‘Doubt, and ‘Passion Flowers’ to the aggressive, agonised vocals and instrumental blows that punctuate heavier songs like ‘Sleep’, ‘Cavities’, 'Little Bird' and ‘Ceremony’; they all signify the various angry, frustrating and crushing moments of a relationship mid-nosedive and what comes with cathartic hindsight. Because not all love is equal, and in some cases, love truly is not enough to fix and forget various transgressions.
Now, I personally first heard ‘Love Is Not Enough’ upon its initial release and it was an album that I quite liked, but it slipped through my schedule of releases to cover for review last year. Yet the eight-month gap of time since its debut into our world in September 2016 and this review now has allowed for this record to firmly root itself deeper in my heart. Not just due to its strong upfront quality of powerful melodic hardcore tunes, but also because certain circumstances of my own life have changed since September last year. Thus, ‘Love Is Not Enough’ is now a far more effective, relative body of work for me and my life right now.
That's something that only the mere passing of time and the serendipitous nature of relativity could provide me. In far less overblown terms, this record is very situational; it's an album that many will love and relate to greatly, yet one that others may not attach to as strongly. Similar to The Antler's emotionally crippling 'Hospice' record or Glassjaw's bitter and hateful 'Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence' - records that have been incredibly poignant for certain experiences in my own life - one's own love or indifference for Casey's debut will boil down to whatever kind of relationship status the listener currently has when they experience 'Love Is Not Enough'.
Now, without playing the 'woe-is-me' card too much, as someone who has had hefty relationship troubles this year with my own girlfriend of five years, 'Love Is Not Enough' is truly apt for me right now; more so than it ever could have been eight months ago when it was originally released. It's also a record whose title and whose songs summon up exactly why my previous long-term relationship ended so badly too. And that's the beauty of records like this.
I mean, say what you will about albums that primarily deal in heartache and love lost and how it may be overdone or cliche, but a relationship going tits up has usually been the crux for many great records over the years. Which is exactly the case here. 'Love Is Not Enough' won't fix my own or your relationship issues and while it won't immediately mend any broken hearts out there, it'll be a step in the right direction; all with some damned solid music backing it up!
'Love Is Not Enough' is a melancholic tome for the love-sick, the broken hearted, the doubtful, the regretful, and those in need of a deep catharsis. Even if that doesn't apply to your own situation right now, your life could still benefit from having Casey's grand melodic hardcore music in it. Because there is no wider agenda or artistic compromises being made here; just a vast outpouring of emotion via a highly solid heavy yet melodic delivery.
If ‘Love Is Not Enough’ slipped well under your radar last year, you now have no excuse whatsoever for not acquainting yourself with Casey now.
2. Little Bird
7. Passion Flowers
'Love Is Not Enough' is available in Australia May 12th. Pick it up here.