Review Summary: This brief two song release is intended to span the gap between the band's second LP "The Echo and the Light" and also serve as a rebranding for the group.
CSTVT released this brief two-song affair early in 2011, not long after the release of 2010’s “The Echo and The Light”. While that album was tightly coiled and was almost suffocating at times, “CSTVT’ has a looser and more relaxed feel to it. Thankfully this time around the band retains their technical, grand, and gruff voiced approach to the post-Kinsella Chicago punk scene.
“CSTVT” is intended as a statement after the band was forced to change their name from Castevet after receiving complains from a New York City based black metal band who felt infringed upon. Regardless of the dubiousness of that band’s legal claim, the band returns as strong as ever with this 7 inch. An album was supposed to arrive not long after this in the spring of 2011, rendering this a brief footnote between “The Echo and the Light” and said third LP. As of the writing of this review, almost two years on, that album has not arrived despite the band’s assurances they are still alive. Whether this remains the band’s last gasp or a very early teaser for this purported third album remains to be seen.
“Ghost Boat” arrives with a deliberate pace, belying its short two minutes. Halfway through it opens up a bit, and the vocalist decides to let loose a little bit. The band relaxes next with “Rogers Alexandra”, which gallops with an effortless gait. Racing around riffs with thrilling precision, the band delights with a dynamic breakdown a minute in and then takes off sprinting at the end, crashing into silence at the last possible second. It’s still impossible to decipher what these guys are singing about. I gave up long ago trying to listen to the lyrics and instead decided to focus purely on the music. I’d advise you to do the same.
If “CSTVT” does end up being the band’s final declaration, it will be a disappointment. However, a band could do a lot worse than this as a parting message. This brief release blends together “Summer Fences” gloriously lengthy passages with “The Echo and the Light’s” focused song craft. If it is a mere taste of what is to come, I imagine the long wait will be well worth it.