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New Music: Cast - Love Is The Call

Album cover for Cast's new album, Love Is The Call, available at Applestump Records

If I had to make a list of my top 10 albums of all time which is a task I hope I never have to do as I honestly would find it so hard, All Change, the debut album by Cast, would be very high on that list. All Change is the perfect debut album, it is full of energy, optimism, self-belief and whilst you are listening to the album you feel a better person and believe in better days ahead. I was 17 when that album came out, and when I listen to it now I am taken back to those times. A time where the world was full of endless possibilities, the album brought sunshine and light to every day, we had dreams to chase and less to worry about it. 

Twenty nine years on from the release of All Change Cast are back with their seventh album Love Is The Call. Please don’t think I am dismissing the other five albums in the bands catalogue by only referencing All Change as they all have some great moments but as an album All Change was the one that meant the most. Also during the press build up to the release of Love Is The Call, John Power has talked openly about debut albums and that it's not just the fact that a band has all the time in the world to make the debut album. What makes a debut album so special is that energy, belief and optimism that a band can bring to their first release. Cast have worked hard to capture those feelings and emotions during the writing and recording of Love Is The Call and it is incredible that a band who have been together for over thirty years, and on their seventh release together have given us an album that feels like a debut release.

Bluebird opens the new album and is a song that appears to bridge the gap between John's former band (The La’s) to Cast. This is an acoustic, psychedelic, beautiful little song that is not like anything else on the album but reminds us of how significant John Power has been as a songwriter and the mark he has left on British popular culture. First Smile Ever follows with infectious melodies and insightful lyrics trying to figure out who we are, feeling the world has turned its back on us, trying to escape from the day to day routines “You walk out the door / Each day feels the same”, but then a moment of magic can happen, you can find beauty in the world and “for the first time in forever / you’ve got a smile on your face”.  The Rain That Falls manages to sound familiar and new at the same time. There is such an uplifting feel that runs throughout this song reminding us of all the reasons why we fell in love with Cast in the first place. They are a band who quite simply make the world a better place through writing anthemic pop songs. They also have this trick where on the surface it seems they are writing basic pop songs, but they are far from basic, listen out for the key changes especially in The Rain That Falls and you realise this is songwriting genius.

Faraway is perfect, in fact it is more than perfect. This is a song that I will never tire of and neither should you. It is one of those songs that was written for that communal experience.  Don’t get me wrong I love listening to this song on my headphones and playing it in the house but this song will take on a life of its own in the live arena. Imagine a field full of people, a pub full of friend’s, arms around each other singing aloud and enjoying life. Lyrically it is that perfect combination of reflection and questioning ourselves “I’m running around on empty dreams” then going on to realise that there is hope left in the world and better days lie ahead “You’ve got a smile on your face again”.

Love You Like I Do was the first single released from the album and this is a song that could only have been written by Cast it effortlessly skips from verse to chorus, with all band members sounding happy to be together recording music after all these years. Love Is The Call is an infectious song that will have you nodding along and joining in with the chorus. Starry Eyes is another memorable moment. I love the lyrical style that John uses in this song. It is full of attitude and confidence that ensures Starry Eyes is a song that will be impossible to ignore. Lyrically we see John thinking about the modern world and how difficult it can be to escape and switch off these days “It’s getting harder each day to survive”.  The drums that open I Have Been Waiting will be sure to get you on your feet, then when the guitars and vocals join the party there will be no excuses for staying still, this song will be sure to get you moving.

Look Around adds to the never-ending list of great pop songs to come out of Liverpool. It is full of creativity and imagination especially the part where John goes all Bowie on us with the vocal style, I was not expecting that. Time Is Like A River is a dreamy psychedelic pop song that provides us with a wonderful metaphor for life “Time is like a river / It floats out to the see / reaching on forever / endlessly”. We can’t go back in life, we can’t change things, life is a journey, it is a never-ending river and we have to go with the ebb and flow of the tide.  Tomorrow Call My Name closes the album with a big fat slice of positivity, did we expect anything else? It is a call to arms, a rousing pop song which reminds us of the struggles of life “Same old story heard it all before” then leaves us with the message of love and hope that we will survive, we will get over whatever life throws at us “You know its gonna be alright”. 

It can’t be a coincidence that the last word on Love Is The Call is alright, which of course links us back nicely to Alright from All Change. This is not the first time John has done this. Looking Glass, the song that closed the seminal album by The La’s had the final lyric “The change is cast”.  Do I need to say anymore, John Power is one of life’s greats, he is a genius of a songwriter who cares so much about the songs he has been part of. Cast welcome back, Love Is The Call can rightly be talked about as an album that will make a difference to the lives of so many.

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