Review of Troubled Times Album by Cast

When Blur and Pulp were announced as headlining acts, a certain generation of people got excited. This may be a sign of our age, or just that familiarity we all crave sometimes. I remember the summer of 1995 with the big Blur and Oasis battle. I remember long summer holidays filled with the sounds of Ash, Dodgy, Supergrass, and Sleeper. They were the days when the park across the road from my house had amazing outdoor music festivals with good bands.

Cast Troubled Times Album

So it is perhaps these fond (and maybe jaded) memories I have, that allowed me to retain some hope that an album from Cast may be good. Despite all of my better judgement telling me that it wouldn't be, I held on to that. The album arrives and the realisation that their success may be built on their past comes flooding back.

I ask my colleague at work if he remembers Cast. 'No' - An indication that Cast have done nothing notable to keep them alive for the past ten years at least, and now I feel old.

It doesn't come as any surprise that Cast are trying to make a come back, most of the bands from that era are giving it a go. In their time, Cast were good, a strong part of the mid nineties movement.

For a band built on the principles of Britpop, Troubled Times is a particularly depressing affair. The track list alone is a big enough hint. 'Troubled Thoughts', 'The Sky's Got a Gaping Hole'. I could go on. Ten years is a long time, and with trends in music moving fast, Cast don't appear to be in touch.

Troubled Times sounds like Cast in terms of the vocals and the easily identifiable guitar work, but not in style or spirit. Yes they take from the retro sixties influence that Britpop always did, but it lacks life and depth. Lyrics are melancholy, and you can't imagine one track being a live hit for their tour this year - 'Bow Down', as an opener is simply just average.

Ten years on, and what you have is an older band, struggling. 'Bad Waters' screams out middle aged band playing in a pub somewhere on a Wednesday night. They're out of touch and showing their age. Maybe that's a little unfair. There are a few tracks offering a little hope. If I was in an average pub live music night, then I would probably listen to them in the background. I would never believe their nineties success though.

To go back to my younger colleague who doesn't remember Cast - Have they done anything to support my argument that he should? Not really. Surviving this come back trend is dependent upon relating to your audience, both old and new. I'm not sure a new audience will really care, and the old audience would prefer the old classics.

Should we not just get over it and concentrate on a bit of progression? Blur and Pulp aside, very few will be able to pull it off. Britpop was a mid to late nineties era, and perhaps that is where it should stay.

Laura Johnstone

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