CD Review

Astrophagus – “Casualite”

By Marcus Pan

CasualiteSad to a fault, Casualite attempts to mix all of the post-millennium world into a mixed melancholy reaching for some semblance of stability. Made up of the Cain brothers on their old keyboard and guitar and the addition of David Kurtz on drums and Chris White on bass, Astrophagus are an experimental mash of sadness.

Songs like the opening ATM are slow and brooding while Square Parts of Houses is more of a basement rock bent. Never Happen mixes up weird ensembles of sound with unidentifiable vocal samples. Consult the List is a strict rock song with dirty percussion and guitar, whiny angst-filled vocals and a Jesus and Mary Chain style. “Scumbags of the world unite!” is the anthem here, whining about the state of the planet and society as the dark cloud of the new millennium continuously obscures any decent vision of the future.

Riverside is another slow song with mostly keys, similar to ATM. The Risk of Birth Defects even steps a little out into very rhythmic territory, percussion becoming a highlight to the track while other windy ambiences are wound around it. Pigeondust is a shoegazery track, one of the brighter sounding here. Danforth is one of my favorites on Casualite. Innocuous Dance Track is a great ambient/trance mix with subtle rhythms and subconscious scrapings. Astrophagus close Casualite similar to the shoegazery brooding they opened with Threshold, fading away as quietly as it had come.

Overall, Astrophagus have some good ideas musically. Casualite takes on the form of a chill out album for me, not really something I’d go see live with the exception of songs like Square Parts of Houses or Consult the List maybe. There’s an interesting level of melancholy here, darker than most and for that I appreciate Astrophagus’ work. But while they’ve toured with such acts as Dressy Bessy, Echoset and Aqueduct, they come across to me as more of an ambient mix.

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