It's an interesting scenario for Caz Mechanic, stuck firmly in people's minds in the same mud as Charlotte Hatherly from Ash: while there will be interest, most will conclude that this solo material is not quite as good as the work of her parent band. Seafood, Caroline Banks' main vocation, were/are a bright, occasionally excellent distraction whose shouty material was just as good as their softer stuff. The shouty material is entirely ignored by Caz Mechanic on her debut album, which sides instead with the strengths of the softer stuff, and by all accounts makes an excellent attempt at carving herself an identity completely separate.
Her cooey voice is not the star; it's more of a showcase for her craftiness and the balance of songs and their instrumental augmentation. A penchant for the kazoo (a deceptively jovial instrument, sadly) emerges on the title track, and again later. It humanises further the already extremely human and provides tremendous bounce. On the tracks where the bounce isn't required (the confusingly non-descript opening 'Elephant's Song', for instance), we're treated to hazy insulation and softly personal intimations. 'Go Home' is part reassuring resentment of the opposite sex, part dirty muted trumpets and all gorgeous. Caz Mechanic proves in moments and moods such as these that she is as blessed with intelligent beauty as The Decemberists or anyone on Saddle Creek.
Byrdsian folk jangles and Nick Drake melancholy, sweet lyrics and nifty asides all indicate a quirky, if not unique, talent that should get better with further releases. It's never a challenge to absorb the material here, but it's also never a chore. If she continues to step in front of the drum riser with such conviction and grace, the rewards will continue to come long into the future.
7Daniel Ross's Score