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Casey, Rich: House of Cards

This is Rich's second album with guests on vocals and drums. Fifteen short tracks comprise the album, mostly based around keyboard instrumental passages. The two opening instrumental pieces are dominated by organ over strong rhythms whilst repeated emulated 12 string guitar scales over synths form the basis for the gentle melancholic third track. The first of the lyrics is heard in "Move to you", composed mainly of a slow ballad with an upbeat chorus backed by synths and digital keys.

"Bloodsucker" and "Masochists on Parade" employ menacing chord progressions quite effectively although I feel that some more development of the basic ideas on both would have been worthwhile. Too many of the instrumentals seem to rely on simple up/down scales and other repetitions for the melody and lack punch when they do get into a groove. This isn't helped by the somewhat thin reedy digital keyboards often employed.

Singer Mark Helms appears on the reflective "Built of clay". The following song from Gabrielle Agachiko "Just within reach" is rather more aggressive and delivered with a slightly discordant edge. The rather plain lyrics built mostly around a relationship split don't really inspire though. The exception is "The Rewind", where a cleverly constructed advance and retract arrangement is used and a deeper organ tone creates another opposing element to a well sung lyric using contrasting blues and menacing vocal styles. Probably the most interesting and well developed track on the album.

From a production point of view the acoustic drums where used have a rather dead hollow sound and the female singer who delivers most of the half dozen or so songs is OK but just occasionally seems to fall marginally off key. That said Rich's keyboard and guitar arrangements are performed well enough and provide a pleasant if not especially adventurous listen for the most part. However, I'm left with a feeling I have with so many of these solo small studio projects that the value of band teamwork rather than pro-tools and its kin in delivering real quality in the detail is evident by its absence.

Track Listing
1. Epic
2. On planet earth
3. These four walls
4. Move to you
5. Bloodsucker
6. Built with clay
7. Just within reach
8. One eyed Jack leaves the big top/full house
9. Masochists on Parade
10. Never a time
11. The last of the digital holdouts
12. In between
13. The rewind
14. When tomorrow comes
15. No regrets

Added: December 28th 2007
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 2069
Language: english

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