Cast Spells, Bright Works and Baton

Cast Spells, Bright Works and Baton

Bright Works and Baton, the first EP by Cast Spells, is something to be played at a summer barbeque or other such lazy social event. It’s bright and pleasant, and it’s not one of those that has to “grow on you,” or that requires a “refined taste” in music. You’ll find that even your most critical impulses will be quelled by Dave Davison’s friendly, unpretentious lyrics and catchy, steady drums.

Dave Davison (the man behind Maps & Atlases and Hey!Tonal) created this solo side project, as (I’m assuming) a way to channel his inner indie-folk-rocker. Recorded in seven days in the basement of his childhood home, the whole EP has a feeling of home, of being comfortable and surrounded by friends and family. His lyrics are full of placid Middle-American imagery, like “jackets sewn like an American quilt,” and “swept beneath the mower blades of the paralyzed old plow.”

But the music itself isn’t quite as placid: with punchy guitar and warm, sometimes yelpy vocals, it’s hard not to tap your toes along to it, especially “Glamorous Glowing” and “War Story Hellos.” The whimsical drumbeats and synth make the EP sound almost childish, but the occasional cello and Davison’s distinct, straightforward singing give it enough maturity for it to pass par with grown ups. It’s very good for that feeling when you want to listen to something gentle and acoustic, but not as cold as Bon Iver or Bonnie Prince Billy, or as angsty as Okkervil River. You’ll find the whole EP stuck in your head a lot, trust me.

Although Bright Works and Baton lacks the fieryness to really evoke anything special from the listener, it’s definitely worth the listen. Davison knows how to write interesting acoustic songs that don’t get boring after the first couple listens, a talent that sets him apart from your run-of-the-mill bearded indie-rocker. It’s a promising first release for Davison’s solo project, and I look forward to hearing some more from him in the future.

(Sargent House Records -- < a href=""target="_new">; Cast Spells --
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Tuesday, June 15th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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