To many, emo is long gone: it was just a short fad in the late nineties and at the beginning of the new millennium. They see it as a scene that a few sweater vest clad 28-year olds lament over the faint sound of Sunny Day Real Estate’s Diary
. All the new bands, well, they’re just repackaging ten-year old ideas to a small group of angst-ridden teenagers, right" Think what you will, but emo is still alive and kicking, and who better to prove it than Chicago’s own Castevet.
Released way back in 2009, Summer Fences
, Castevet’s debut full-length, was quite the anomaly. There are not many times when you can find a new band with influences from so many sides of the spectrum that still manage to sound like seasoned veterans. Yet, Summer Fences
was exactly that, and now Castevet have returned less than a year later with The Echo & the Light
Not much has changed since Summer Fences
; in fact, The Echo & the Light
is in many ways just a more refined, more condensed Summer Fences
. Where Summer Fences
was more drawn out and slow building in its beauty, The Echo & the Light
manages to compress the same sound into a shorter and more to the point record. To some listeners, this less spacey and more condensed approach might take some of the enjoyment away, and to others, this approach will get it done and get it done faster. It really just depends on what you like. If you are inclined toward post-rock, you might feel on Summer Fences
is where Castevet shines. If you are a person who likes faster, punkier music, than The Echo & the Light
will be a change for the better.
The Echo & the Light
continues in Castevet’s mathy, start-stop, ever-changing emo sound that Summer Fences
began. The guitar can be airy and ambient, but then quickly change to a heavier, punkier sound, and the riffs are plentiful in creativity and never sound recycled or predictable. The drumming is tighter than ever, and is one of the most stand-out performances on The Echo & the Light
. Both the drums and the guitar can be easily described as creating a very math-rock sound. Vocally, the album is one that could easily survive instrumentally, but Castevet doesn’t slack in adding catchy but rough half screamed/half sung vocal melodies that would easily get under one’s skin if not for them being turned down significantly to just sound like another instrument.
The Echo & the Light
doesn’t let you get bored in its short twenty-four minute play-time; it demands your constant attention to every detail, however fine it may be. If you thought emo was dead, it’s time you give Castevet a try. You might just be pleasantly surprised.