CAssette (from Beijing) is playing this weekend in Shanghai. This year they released their first album, an EP titled A Boy With The Red Elephant.
CAssette took a year to finish this album, probably too long, as the singer and front lady of the band Teardroppy said to us, but more relevant than that is that A Boy With The Red Elephant is a very nice album, and a very good omen for the band. The five tracks of A Boy With The Red Elephant flow comfortably from the speakers to our ears. It’s a round album, with a cool pallet of sounds, each of the songs stand on solid grown by themselves, and they interconnect and communicate in a gentle way producing an attractive and solid result.
Recorded at Snake Pit rehearsal studios, mixed and produced by the guitarist of the band, Mark Lee, A Boy With The Red Elephant presents very well the range of sounds produced by CAssette, from pop, to rock, passing by some influences of post rock, and electronic music too. The melodies though are catchy, are not pretentious, they are also well stylized, with simplicity, good taste, so it feels the music is focus on itself and not on the impression that will cause, which I believe is difficult to achieve when playing with pop sounds. With A Boy With The Red Elephant I feel most impressed by the honesty behind the pop sound of the album. Mark Lee has his own studio now, where he is recording and producing the works of other bands, I find it easy to understand why he is becoming a popular producer in Beijing among indie bands.
This album will not change the story of music, neither will be on the top charts of Billboard, but as it said on the tag of one of my favorite bottled green teas with milk, “it’s a very decent drink”. To me that exactly is what it makes A Boy With The Red Elephant a great album. And I’ll say it again, definitely a very good omen for the life of CAssette.
This reminds me of one thing that my very good friend Tolo always said about the best album of Fito Paez, a rock guy from Argentina that we love, Paez biggest album was his third album. My friend Tolo, used to say that nothing could be worst than making your best production when you are still starting your career, then you’d always be doomed to compete against it. Tolo is a lazy guy by nature, but he is kind of right. Whoever wants a smashing first album to conquer the universe in a blink is either super bold, or super dumb.
A Boy With The Red Elephant starts with the song that gives the name to the album. Teardroppy singing recalls a bit the style of Shiina Ringo, or Faye Wong, two huge female singers of Asian pop. She is a sexy singer, her technique is fine, sure still can be more developed, but as it is now is already very attractive and nice to listen to. “Dogdays II”, the second track, begins with the drama that ended the first song, and suddenly I’m totally hooked on the dramatic evolution of the song when Teardroppy sings along Mark Lee’s very post-rock riffs “I find you crying, I find you struggling. Only find out silliness. When the day comes. I feel like falling, I feel like flying”. Yeah, so do I. Then the third track “Snowing” is the first song of the album in Chinese, and it is very very very Shiina Ringo kind, like when she swims to her punk influences and mixes them with Asian sounds, so Teardroppy does too. I like a lot the textured created by the guitar on a rockabilly mood. “Life Sux” the fourth track evolves what was kind of funny on “Snowing” to a more serious tone with heavier riffs, and darker sounds from the keyboard, and the repeated drumrolls elevating the tension to pop the song into heavy dark rock ‘n roll exploding in riffs. So the fall into the last track, a remix of the second track that starts with very atmospheric cloudy sounds, is surprising, and a fun fall.
CAssette will be playing tomorrow Friday at YuyinTang opening for the concert of Big Bang, and on Saturday at Live Bar along with X is Y, and The Song Dynasty.
More information about Cassette on their Douban page.
Buy A Boy With The Red Elephant on Taobao or in Beijing at stores like M.F, Fu Sheng, C-Rock, Du Yin Chang Pian
Watch videos of CAssete on their Douban page
Other works produced by Mark Lee are Kinetic Raw Mixtape Vol. 1,
and the first album of Catieria, Sweet Dreams
Mache is a hippie witch that was born under Beltane's full moon. She enjoys talking to ghosts and interdimensional beings, and cooking for her friends and beasts. She has Chilean wine in her veins instead of blood,and at the moment she belongs to China.