Flemington, New Jersey punk band Casual recently made their self-titled full length album available for streaming and download ahead of its official physical release this September on Square of Opposition and Dead Broke Records. The four-piece band creates melodic punk songs with an anger that comes from living in a mundane place amongst dreadful circumstances like boredom, alienation, and friends who let drugs get the best of them.
The entirety of Casual moves at a fast pace, leaving no room for filler between the distorted, feedback-laden guitar riffs, and equal mix of poppy and raspy hooks. The multiple voices bring together clean, high-pitched deliveries with more emphatic and bitter ones, resulting in some really intriguing vocal hand-offs. In “Doing Business,” the band rips through power chords and pulls off harmonies where the prominent singing voice changes off a few times. Some of their lyrics are on the comical side (see “Pot Hole”), but most of their ideas revolve around taking life and its downsides in stride while seeking out the ability to feel better. In the second track, “Mana Burn,” Casual describes how holding onto things generally brings pain and how stagnancy never helps, and are able to end on a forward-thinking note, “I’m keeping my mind in tact by trying not to overreact and start ignoring what’s holding me back.”
On other tracks, Casual can’t help but question everything and point out the inconveniences that turn into personal crises. The re-recorded “Poison Counter” is one of the best tracks on the record, where the band seamlessly shifts between speeds and delivers sad truths alongside existential questions, and in the end can’t make themselves feel better about much of anything, “We think too much, but not enough / Always ending up at we’re all fucked / You cannot change what is wrong with words to a song.” Most of the album is pretty introspective, but the final track “Opium” puts the focus outward and the riff creates a mood of anxiety and outrage. The entire band puts forth their most aggressive stylings, and the hoarse vocals eventually explain the problem causing this resentment, “I know how easy it is for you to fall in love with a girl, but most of all opium.” Going through talk of dead eyes and breaking the lease, the end of the track wraps it up with deadly instrumentals and boldly repeated lyrics, “It’s hard to watch a friend deplete their will to live / It’s even harder when I don’t wanna forgive.”
Casual’s full-length debut doesn’t break a whole lot of new ground, but it is successful in being full of honest, catchy, and distorted punk songs. The confused emotion that is so earnestly put into their lyrics and the execution of their music can be wholeheartedly felt, especially during their most desperate moments. Casual is an upbeat listen for when you’re struggling mentally, just getting by every day, and overall trying to get out of that rut.
Pre-order Casual on vinyl from Square of Opposition Records here or from Dead Broke Records here. Download the album via bandcamp or stream below. Catch Casual playing at Flem Fest this Sunday, August 16th, in Flemington New Jersey. Get more information here.
Featured image via Facebook.