Cast - Kicking Up The Dust

by Mark Steele Rating:7 Release Date:2017-04-21

As a well-travelled road wagon would pull in, this band's return after 5 years following Troubled Times, tells us of a return to trademark heritage and hallowed strengths. Cast's new album  - Kicking Up The Dust, is a driving force with many stories to tell, hopefully alluring and not too wearisome.

The bold bass and stomping drums opening the existential 11 song album, has title-track 'Kicking Up The Dust', bringing reality home via John Power's words and gritty, spacey guitar tones. With a merry melodic intro that moves to a half-Bossa beat, 'Roar'  keeps it calm till the chorus kicks in, which instantly displays the band's characteristic growl. The addition of Jay Lewis on bass and backing vocals since 2015, seems to provide a cool breeze to things vintage and new.

It can be said that this album has evident textbook rock songwriting examples, with its evenly well-thought arranged sections. There is a nice golden blend of 70s rock-ballad stylings on tracks such as 'Paper Chains' and 'How Can We Lose', possessing warm vocals and guitars, that reach down deep into your soul, similar to iconic forerunners The Eagles and Thin Lizzy.

There are swift moments where the songs take a slight style detour down the pop-rock route, the relationship withdrawal 'Birdcage', additionally 'Clear Blue Water', a bit heavier and yet cheerfully pounds along, thanks to Keith's stickwork.

However, for those of us wanting to hear songs bathed in that rich enchanting Cast essence, experienced in the manner of their early albums, hold on. There is the down-home country stomper 'Further Down The Road', a dreamy layered 6/8 light bringer 'Every Little Thing You Do', and one of the album's strongest songs, the hook-tastic mid-tempo groover 'Baby Blue Eyes'.

A simmered down melancholic love lost finale, 'Out Of My Hands' wrings out a decent country-rock ballad and brings Kicking Up The Dust to a gentle close. A mature outlook for Cast has delivered a thoughtful package of mixed emotions and certainly mixed song energies. Not to quell the fires of expectation, but it could engage a mixed reception equally.

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