From the first notes of the opening track “Forward,” Casual Listener by Future States promises a more experimental foray into some light indie rock. Unfortunately, over the course of the next few songs, these progressive musings fade and leave only a more generalized indie sound. Almost all instances of sonic experimentation are quite interesting but hold no weight as they are used only as transitional pieces; almost as quickly as a motif grabs your attention it is gone.
Now, this is not to say that this album is without its merits. Pianist Nicolas Hyatt and drummer Daniel Gelinas hold this band together, filling out the spaces in an extremely tasteful way and shying away from the usual indie tendencies. The rest of the band, Chuck Bronson, Brodie Conley and David Lacalamitta, when not using all of their pedals, stick to the traditional bare-bones style of indie guitar work. This album sounds incredible all things in consideration. It is very well mixed.
A large amount of the subject matter on this record deals with the feelings of loss, longing, and unrequited love. Only two of the songs really conveyed these emotions to me. “Wish You Well” captures the misty-eyed musings of a love lost, conjuring memories with a touch of begrudging forgiveness. “Regress To The Mean” delivers some very original instrumentation with ghostly use of a Theremin.
All in all, for an album that deals with some content that can cause intense emotion I find Causal Listener a touch too casual (no pun intended). When I have feelings of loss and unrequited love I tend to have a more volatile reaction. However, if when you feel sad your first instinct is to go to a trendy speakeasy deep in the plateau and contemplate the perks of being a wallflower then I would recommend this album 100%.
Written by Tyler Miller
*edited by Danielle Kenedy