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I Am Casting: Carnival Barkers

Sounding like a low-key, less hook-filled version of Toy Matinee and latter-day Bruce Hornsby -- in large part thanks to Cole Guerra’s singing -- I Am Casting is a one-man jazzy electropop band in which Guerra plays pretty much everything. Other than a trumpet here, a sax there or a trombone somewhere else, this is a very personal project for Guerra not only in instrumentation but also lyrics. With a background in psychology, he wrote songs for Carnival Barkers that bridge politics and the human psyche, touching on such topics as manipulation, predators and tribal identities. The name I Am Casting reflects the focus on characters in Guerra’s songwriting and hints at some of the more theatrical elements in these 11 songs.

For added drama, I Am Casting emphasizes rhythmic composition as much as harmonic content -- resulting in often offbeat songs that echo the early work of Peter Gabriel. Guerra self-produced the record and then had it mastered by Brent Lambert (known for his work with Hiss Golden Messenger and The Mountain Goats).

The biggest drawback of Carnival Barkers is that, despite the intense subject matter, it sometimes sounds too relaxed. There’s no sense of urgency in Guerra’s vocal delivery, and while there are flashes of musical brilliance (as on “Flood” and “Clay”), it seems like he’s still finding his way. That said, this is a challenging listen that proves more rewarding with each subsequent spin.

Track Listing:
2. Flood
3. Window
4. Wolf
5. Clay
6. Anchored
7. Helpless
8. Almost
9. Lullaby
10. Muggers
11. Seams

Added: December 19th 2019
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: I Am Casting Website
Hits: 779
Language: english

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