CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE
TOM65 | released: 07/03/2006 | CD
via Anost (Europe)
via SCD (USA)
There are happy moments, honest...
Now on his fourth release, has Casiotone, aka 28-year-old Owen Ashworth, finally cracked it? Well, his all-consuming electronica of the old school variety is incredibly endearing for a start. Songs like Nashville Pathernon and Young Shields are imbued with a kind of world-weary perspective that's complemented by bare melodies and gruff wayward singing. Each song is constructed from the most basic of instruments, with electronic keyboards and drum machines providing the backbone for much of the album. Guest singers Katy Davidson and Jenn Herbinson bring a touch of innocence to Holly Hobby and Scattered Pearls, and Happy Mother's Day, a 47-second spoken monologue, gives the album an almost celluloid quality.
Not that this should surprise - Ashworth actually dropped out of film school prior to starting his musical career, but this still lends a kind of Hal Hartley flourish to the album. There's also a touch of Eels-like gravitas to the songs, especially in the piano tremble of Bobby Malone Moves Home. It's obvious that Ashworth's approach is more than just eccentric, and by the time the emotive and joyful Love Connection concludes, you'll think that way too.