No caution

When I dumped this album into my iTunes, the genre read "metal." Unlike some folks, that didn't bother me at all. I thought the name was a bit twee for a metal act, but I'm a couple decades past my prime as a music reviewer, so what the hell.

Caustic Casanova
(Retro Futurist)
Turns out the name is just about perfect. Caustic Casanova is a three-piece power indie rock band from the wilds of D.C. Imagine a proggy version of Superchunk or the Nineteen Forty-Fives (complete with songs that might clock in at nine or twelve minutes), and you're pretty much there. Since these folks hail from inside the Beltway, J. Robbins is their house producer. And yes, it wouldn't be wrong to add Jawbox to those influences listed above.

So. . .awesome, really. The rhythms are straight indie rock, with a tendency toward the Weddoes. The guitars aren't quite psychedelically fuzzy, but they're definitely not metal clean. And the dual vocals of Stefanie Zaneker and Francis Berenger are enthralling. Unison male and female vocals is one of those elements that is simply intoxicating to me. CC usually uses that trick on the hooks, but it bleeds into the verses on occasion. Enough to excite; infrequent enough to be a treat.

And the power. CC crosses just about every genre in existence in its quest for a unique sound. And I think it's fair to say that has been accomplished. I've never seen the band live (a situation I'll have to rectify soon), but I can envision a setlist that might include "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," "The Trooper," "Slack Motherfucker" and "Surprise, You're Dead." And maybe a really twisted version of "Yours Is No Disgrace."

Despite the definite geezerage such covers might indicate, CC is fully modern. No one plays songs like this. Nobody. And the sheer glee evident within leaves tingles. The future might not be wretched after all. It just might kick some serious ass.

Jon Worley

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