Tuesday, July 28, 2009

review: Castevet Summer Fences

Summer Fences
Count Your Lucky Stars Records, 2009

You know you are in for some wicked stuff when a band takes their name from a freak show movie like Rosemary's Baby. Summer Fences is an album that belongs in the post-punk canon of a decade ago, weaving post-rock instrumental ballads and hardcore vocals into an excellent math-rock album. This may be the ballsiest band in punk rock today, because for some reason they've convinced themselves they can take on post-rock instrumentalists like American Football, Appleseed Cast and dare to blend it with Small Brown Bike or The Casket Lottery. There's a fine line between courage and stupidity and Chicago's Castevet manages, somehow beyond all probability, to stay between those tight confines all the way through.

To start out, Castevet begins with two amazing tracks that may be the best ten minutes of music I've heard all year. "Between Berwyn and Bryn Mawr" lays the atmospherics on thick before the slight ripple of its signature guitar line ekes its way into the scene and slowly finds the melody. Then their vocalist Ron Petzke (I think it's him...sorry if it's not) peels out a carwreck of a voice, akin to gravel in a blender. That godawful vocal noise is so disconcerting to such beautiful music, why the hell would they do it? But it works, they make it work. The rawness makes it real, makes it be, makes them different I guess. And just when you think "Between Berwyn and Bryn Mawr" has seen its fair share of creative input, that pesky melody line works its way back in at the 3:30 mark to carry it the rest of the way through, and even brings it up another notch. I'd love to see this band live...I'm sure the thrashing of these hard-spun elevated guitar chords must make everyone lean and bend and dive and faint out of appreciation to Castevet--for restoring real emotion, real energy back to emo...yes, I said it. Castevet makes that word mean something again.

All of this madness bleeds into the more melodic but equally as satisfying, "Beating Highschoolers At Arcade Games." Like I said, the best ten minutes in music. Even with its most melodic song "Plays One On TV," Castevet shoves out a memorable bit of post-rock punk with the best rising guitars this side of 2001. But just when you think it's Get-Up Kids pop, there's a sneaky melodic breakdown that silences the song and the madness for a brief moment of build-up. By the time I get to "Stranger, You Know," (the fourth song on a seven song album), I'm fatigued.

With Summer Fences, Castevet is Don Caballero taking a ride on a Small Brown Bike and then slamming on the brakes to admire a Roadside Monument. Intensity and beauty has finally found its way back and it's a glorious sight. If both the punk rock and indie rock kids cannot like this album, then they forever have nothing left in common. Because Castevet has the ultimate answer--full-on dangerous physical intensity and full-on dangerous creative concentration. To learn how emo and math-rock is supposed to work, go no further than Castevet.

Live vid of "Between Berwyn and Bryn Mawr" after the jump...

Here's a live vid of "Berwyn to Bryn Mawr":

1 comment:

  1. thanks for introducing to this band. they have an ep available for download from their myspace i just got. i like the chuck raganesque vocals too.


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