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Cast - Love is the Call (Album Review)

Tuesday, 20 February 2024 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Paul Husband

The ‘90s are big business right now, and the nostalgia industry hasn’t skipped over Britpop. A number of the old guard have joined the fray, with Blur and Pulp wowing huge crowds last year, and Shed Seven recently landing their first number one album. Cast are getting in on the act with ‘Love is the Call’, their first album since 2017’s ‘Kicking Up the Dust’.

Frontman John Power has commented on how his latest creation bridges the gap between Cast and his earlier work as a lieutenant to Lee Mavers in the La’s. It also attempts to capture the magic and energy that comes hand in hand with a debut release. Fittingly, Power has even picked up a bass for the new LP, something he hasn’t done since his days in his former band.

Power had tested the waters with a handful of these tracks during solo shows, including the haunting acoustic opener Bluebird. It's a curious choice for an intro but enchanting nonetheless. More expectedly, Rain That Falls is straight out of the Britpop playbook, as is the raucous I Have Been Waiting. 

There are also a couple of excellent nods to psychedelia here, including the admirable title track and Look Around, which boasts an addictive chorus that would have pleased the pop-leaning heads of the 1960s. There’s a thin line, though, between catchy and irritating.

Time is Like a River doesn’t quite cross over into annoying with a single spin, but the capacity is there. The bland Starry Eyes is also dangerously close to being skippable, as is the single Faraway, where the melodies lack originality. 

As a result, two glorious moments outshine everything else on ‘Love is the Call’. Firstly, the chugging Forever And a Day benefits from one of Cast's best choruses, while Tomorrow Calls My Name is propelled into the stratosphere by a soaring outro where Power, backed by strings, sings “all that you” feel, see, hear, fear and love consecutively.

While Cast’s mid-90s singles remain untouched as career-defining moments, there is enough here to suggest that their story isn’t finished yet. Even if Power told his bandmates to treat this as though it’s their last record, it doesn’t sound like a swansong. Instead, it’s a plucky middleweight capable of putting on a show on the undercard of any Blur v Oasis rematch.

Cast Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue February 20 2024 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Reflex
Wed February 21 2024 - LEEDS Crash
Thu February 22 2024 - BURY Wax and Beans
Fri March 01 2024 - GLASGOW Galvanizers Yard SWG3
Sat March 02 2024 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
Fri March 08 2024 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute 1 Birmingham
Sat March 09 2024 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Fri March 15 2024 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Sat March 16 2024 - LIVERPOOL Liverpool Su Mountford Hall
Thu November 07 2024 - DUBLIN Academy
Fri November 08 2024 - CORK Cyprus Avenue
Sat November 09 2024 - BELFAST Limelight

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