Friday, July 21, 2017

Deal Casino, Deal Casino, 2017

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

Back in December of 2014 I ended my review of Heck, by the Asbury Park-based band Deal Casino, by asking: "With the release of their third, four-song EP, fans of the band can only be asking:  'When's the album coming out?'"

Well, it's the middle of 2017 and the Deal Casino album is finally here. And it's not as if they haven't been busy. Since Heck they've been out playing live; and they released the four-song EP Nika in July of 2015. Last December, the band put out the three-song Human Cannonball EP as a taster for the album.

Deal Casino is the sound of a band at the peak of their powers. It's as if they knew this was the right time to make the album instead of two or three years ago. With Joe P on vocals and guitar, Jozii on guitar and keys, Jon Rodney on bass, and Chris Donofrio on drums they're a world-class rock outfit. You just need to listen to tracks like the album's terrific, rocking "My Gun," the slow-burning "Human Cannonball," and the crunching and squealing guitars and drums and bass in lock-step rhythm of "Panama Papers." And am I reaching to hear a bit of The Beatles in "Blueberry Pop," "Purple," and "Living Skinny?"

Joe P's vocals on "My Gun," the album's opening track, show the influence of Jeff Buckley; and it's a great thing to hear. He also does a bit of acting in the vocals on "Chelsea's Wedding" when he sings, "I pour myself into a glass / Pour myself into a joint / And wait for the time to pass;" you can hear the alcohol, drugs, and exhaustion in his voice. There's also a bit of Love Is Hell-era Ryan Adams going on as well.

You shouldn't be waiting for an album or EP to end, but it turns out my favorite songs on Deal Casino releases are always the last ones, the slower, sadder songs. I still love "Flying Cars" from Heck, and "Anything That’s Bad" on Nika is also a keeper. So it stands to reason that I would be drawn to the gorgeous "La La Land" on Deal Casino. "I always call her 'Baby' / But she answers to her first and last" may be my favorite line from the song, and there's also a fabulous guitar break that sends the song to a higher place just before the chorus kicks in.

Deal Casino took their time in making this album. You shouldn't take your time in getting a copy of it.

Deal Casino, the album, is out now and available from your favorite digital vendors or over at Deal Casino's Bandcamp page. Deal Casino, the band, are having their record-release party at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park TONIGHT, July 21st. Joining them on that bill are Born Cages and The Cold Seas.

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