Monday 29 October 2012

Johnno Casson - Window Shopping

Album review by KevW

Possibly the most common way for people to hear about new bands is through their singles, as these naturally get more exposure than album tracks. The problem is that a couple of songs doesn't always do justice to the work that's been created. Sometimes songs can work much better in the context of a full album, and maybe this is a reason why many of our favourite bands get overlooked by the mainstream press: you simply can't 'get' them through just hearing the odd tune. You need to absorb the full album. Colchester's Johnno Casson (who you may also know as Snippet) might, for some at least, be a rare example of where the opposite is true.

Every song on his new album 'Window Shopping' is good, very good in fact, although none of them are overly remarkable. In isolation you could happily listen to any track here and be mildly impressed. Where it runs into trouble is that as a whole, a dozen introspective, self-depreciating tales of failed relationships and the passing of time simply become overbearing. Many albums have successfully dealt with heartbreak, desperation and desolation very successfully (Spritualized's 'Ladies & Gentlemen...' for example) but these have been more varied, more cutting and more emotive than the moderate sorrow about feeling "out of sorts" that Casson talks of here.

'Window Shopping' isn't pained or imaginative enough to detail the disillusion of growing old and life's misery with any conviction. You really rather wish he'd just cheer the hell up. Despite these negatives, if you take the odd song there are some very pretty moments such as 'Whatever Happened To The Working Class' or 'Everybody's Got Sides', and the female vocal on 'Out Of Credit' is delightful. It's difficult to criticise any part individually (although for some reason 'Battle Scars' reminds us of the theme to Last Of The Summer Wine, we'll let you decide if that's a good thing) as they're all accomplished and pleasant, plus some of the lyrics are witty and clever and you can sense that much care, thought and soul has been poured into this album, it's just a bit much in one go. So worth investigating but best done so in bite-sized nuggets.

Johnno Casson's website

Stream or buy the album

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