[The] Caseworker: When I Was a Young King

On its sophomore outing When I Was A Young King, [The] Caseworker, comprised of core members (and one-time paramours) Conor Jonathan (vocals, guitar) and Eimer Devlin (vocals, bass) plus drummer Will Waghorn and guitarist Monte Vallier, follows a simple but effective formula: polished variations on classic verse-chorus constructions anchored by bass and drums, topped with multi-layered guitars that chime, swoop, and roar and wispy, breath-laden vocals so similar to David Gilmour's it's impossible to not be reminded of Pink Floyd (just try to listen to “The Kick” and do otherwise). Not that the two bands share much beyond that—the former's succinct songcraft (11 songs in 37 minutes, with each one promptly starting after the finish of another) inhabits a separate universe altogether from the latter's bloated epics; [The] Caseworker is clearly more indebted to shoegaze bands like Spiritualized, Slowdive, and The Jesus and the Mary Chain than any prog dinosaur. “Markievicz's Walls” clearly showcases the quartet's shoegaze leanings, as a fuzzy guitar roar threatens to bury the vocal hush during the song's humming chorus, while Jonathan's lowered vocal turn shifts the evocation to Bernard Sumner during “Shroud” (the song melodically recalls New Order too). The group's no slouch in the songwriting department (the haunting “A Rough Parade” a case in point) but would be wise to banish the Floyd connection. Luckily, doing so is easy: push Devlin's voice to the forefront more often (as is done on “Scene In The Viewfinder”) and any similarities pretty much disappear.

September 2006