Casey – ‘Where I Go When I Am Sleeping’ – 16/03/18
It’s very tough to release an album as transparent as Casey did with their debut, Love is Not Enough. Whilst the failings of love and relationships are cliche in music, they managed to release an album that took a new approach to this topic and from there on, stormed their way into the limelight as Wales’ newest post-hardcore loves. Now, after a long and successful touring schedule, including multiple EU tours and huge festival such as Download, Reading & Leeds and Slam Dunk festival, the five piece are back with their sophomore album, Where I Go When I Am Sleeping.
The opening song, Making Weight sets the tone for the album. Frontman Tom Weaver has been emphatically praised for his lyrical prowess and Making Weight immediately displays this, making it clear that this album is another chapter of his life. An almost self deprecating apology letter penned to his family and friends for various, now well documented, illnesses he is incapable to fix himself, back up with a finger plucked guitar line, we’re immediately invested.
Dropping straight into Wavering, we’re greeted with a Casey we’re a bit more used to. Weaver’s voice breaks into a lower, gristle of a shout with an emphatic drum beat provided by Max Nicolai, which is dynamic and complimentary, not too much but enough to create more excitement. Clean vocals and harmonies are immediately becoming more prominent in this album, as lead axeman Toby Evans provides luscious harmonies for the first time in the album. Followed by single, Phosphenes, it takes on a new life as it’s now part of a larger catalogue and story, flowing freely from one song to the next.
Interludes can be hit and miss with most, yet Casey use them regularly in this album as transitional pieces. Starting with &, a slow, empty piece which last just over 90 seconds, the minor key and layering adds to the story, combined with the lyrics from previous songs and the narrative we are following, it suggests negative feelings, a possible struggle with reality or just general negativity. Don’t worry, it’s not all like this.
Flourescents takes us into Weaver’s experiences in hospital, the grim reality of being sat in a bed going through the struggle of an awful illness such as ulcerative colitis, all whilst suffering from severe depression and just looking for a glimmer of hope, the line “I can feel the decay, in a hospital bed, I wither away” being the standout from this song. Musically, this is the first song that shows a growth on what Casey have released previously, with vibrant guitar parts from Evans and Luke Torrance, layered with additional instruments, the production is phenomenal as you lose yourself in the song.
Flowers By The Bed continues to recount the hospital experience with a huge wave of down tempo emotion. Emo bands would be jealous of the power, story and empathy that is built through these lyrics, such as “And it pains me knowing that you were taking time out of your life to make sure that I was still on the medication that made me stay when I didn’t want to” and “It’s just when I had no one I had depression, it’s the only constant in my life that I could depend on“.
Needlework is almost a throwback to a song that could’ve featured on their debut album, as it seems to focus on love and loneliness, the entire theme for LINE. Once again, a softer, more down tempo piece showing development and using just the core five piece band to create a poignant song. However, the addition of a higher, harmonised vocal really adds to this, kinda in a weird way as though if it were a movie, both parties would be staring longingly out of a window at the moon and singing this song.
Morphine brings an almost welcomed break, as another interlude is needed to simply calm down and try digest the past ten minutes of intensity. Most recent single release, Bruise, follows up in an intense form, once again, a running drum beat which you can move your head to, a clean and ethereal guitar line with plentiful harmony and room for breadth. A large build up into the big Weaver scream opens up the song up with a delicate piano line over the top, it runs smoothly and once again, shows off the huge dynamic capability that Casey may have been limited to on LINE.
The Funeral, once again, shows Casey’s development. This seems almost effortless in it’s composition and is arguably, the quintessential song from this album. Soft beginnings, almost sang reluctantly until a huge “every night it hurts a little more” is sang loud into a big distorted drive, Weaver’s voice once again juxtaposing the powerful music with a softer, clean tone until he breaks into harsh and aggressive lyrics, to then drop into the softer beginnings once again. The additional of an almost ambient solo to break up the song brings us to a mini interlude in itself, then flowing into the final interlude and title track song, Where I Go When I Am Sleeping. As mentioned previously, this is a slightly more layered and upbeat interlude, a more major key alluding to even coming out of this now penned ordeal being a victory in itself. Once again, Nikolai’s drums played with feeling and complimenting the tones of the interlude.
The album climaxes with arguably, the most intense and intimate song, Wound. Starting with a slow musical build into Weaver’s growling vocals, backed by an extremely powerful bass line from Adam Smith, it’s balls to the wall to end the album with an upbeat two minute blast, fading into another gorgeous ambient lead line from the pairing of Torrence and Evans. Weaver chimes in over the top of this with a spoken anecdote. Sadly, this brings to light a very serious issue and may, unfortunately, connect with a lot of people to begin with. You can hear this is said triumphantly, as though the words even leaving his mouth are a victory and the album ends on a strong positive note.
Upon this album ending, there’s an immediate need to listen to it again. You need to listen again to fully understand the depth of the lyrics, you need to listen to the melodies, the ambience, then once you’ve done that, you need to listen again and just close your eyes and take it in. Simply put, this album is not exactly a maturing or a step up, this is a band that has developed upon a sound they crafted on Love Is Not Enough. This is melodic poetry and deserves to be digested and appreciated down to every reverb tail, every nuance and every breathe, which culminates into a calculated and lovingly crafted album.