Review by Andrew Houghton for MPM
It’s something of a cliché to describe as album as long awaited, but it’s literally true in the case of Casino Rockets’ highly anticipated debut, ‘Reality Distortion Field‘, released on 21st May.
The four-piece band from Halifax – comprising Tiv Whitaker (vocals and synths), Rick Anderson (guitars and vocals), Dan Lea (bass, synths and vocals) and, “out of necessity”, the unrecognisable Chris (drums) – have been working on the album since 2018, giving you some sense of the painstaking meticulousness that the band have invested into the album.
However, this prolonged gestation has paid off handsomely, for ‘Reality Distortion Field‘ is a truly stunning debut, and marks one of the most exciting releases of 2021.
A blend of alternative and math rock, their music is assembled with precision and delivered with purpose, every note placed with perfection to weave a tapestry of compelling complexity.
The album opens strongly with ‘Impala‘, the initial club-like electronica quickly yielding to an insistent guitar riff that transforms the track, displaying the band’s creativity as well as their indie rock credentials.
People Like You‘ showcases the band’s fondness for propulsive rhythms, as the track drives forwards under its own momentum until a sudden drop in tempo captures your attention, ready for the delivery of some of the album’s most expressive lyrics.
Other standouts include ‘Sympatico Thieves‘, a delicate track offering nuance and complexity, and ‘Black & Red‘, in which all the layers – the mesmerising bassline, the inventive guitar work, the glorious vocal harmonies – are skilfully interwoven, blending and separating, all the while building towards the track’s satisfying resolution.
Closing track ‘Kachumber‘ brings with it a shift back towards electronica, effectively bookending the album as it draws to a close. The track went through multiple iterations, having being shelved numerous times because the band never felt able to do it justice.
The idea persevered and continued to evolve right up until the final mix,” they say, “eventually becoming what we consider to be a melancholic epic that we feel is a powerful climax to the album.
Reality Distortion Field‘ is a work of sublime intelligence, consistently entertaining and constantly engaging, and marks a stunning debut for Casino Rockets. Highly recommended.
Reality Distortion Field‘ track listing:
• PEOPLE LIKE YOU
• ONLY LIGHT CAN SAVE YOU
• SIMPATICO THIEVES
• THE MAKER
• BLACK & RED
• DRIVE ME TO THE DUSK
• FEEL ME NOW
Reality Distortion Field‘ was released on 21 May 2021 and is available on download and vinyl: https://casinorockets.com/