CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE – Advance Base Battery Life (2009)

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - Advance Base Battery Life Much like The Mountain Goats, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone began making tunes with little more than the bare musical essentials. And both bands eventually opted to create material that was a little more refined in the production department (but certainly not slick). Now, an artist can choose to eschew production values for a variety of reasons (practicality is one, aesthetics is another, and there are more), but when the music is as honest as what both bands achieved in their early releases, debating production values doesn’t really make much sense.

Given that Casiotone For The Painfully Alone have been around for a little over a decade now, releasing a compilation like Advance Base Battery Life makes sense. But unlike The Mountain Goats compilations Bitter Melon Farm, Ghana and Protein Source of the Future…Now! (released collectively in 1999, and again in 2002), which gave the listener a near-unfathomable treasure trove of long unavailable material, Advance Base Battery Life, in comparison, is relatively lacking in riches. Of the fifteen tracks that are on here, only three of them (Holly Hobby, Lonesome New Mexico Nights and The Only Way To Cry) stand out as being on the same caliber of the rest of the band’s material, and it’s worth mentioning that all three of these songs come from the source: an out-of-print split 7″ with Fox Pause. Chances are Holly Hobby will be the one that most listeners will be familiar with, as a re-recorded version of it appeared on the band’s previous studio album, Etiquette.

Advance Base Battery Life is not lacking in the variety department, but that’s actually its biggest flaw: it contains too many quick novelties (Voice of the Hospital, Missoula), misguided covers (the terribly executed rendition of Missy Elliot’s Hot Boyz and a pair of forgettable Springsteen songs) and substandard material (White Corolla and White On White). Mixed all together, it makes for a very disjointed listening experience. That being said, the album does occasionally get it right in a few spots (the cover of Paul Simon’s Graceland is wonderful, as is It’s A Crime, the album’s only acoustically-based offering), so if you’re a Casiotone fan, this still might be worth investing in, but for everyone else, check out Etiquette or Twinkle Echo first. That’ll give you a much better idea of what the band is capable of than this will.

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2 Responses to “CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE – Advance Base Battery Life (2009)”

  1. […] cover Justin Timberlake’s Like I Love You, and this is why Casiotone For The Painfully Alone failed to cover Missy Elliot’s Hot Boyz on their recent compilation: one sounds sincere and the […]

  2. […] ALONE – VS. Children (2009) It was less than a month ago that CFTPA released a rather uneven compilation; while not without a few standout songs, it was hardly the collection I was hoping for, and worse, […]

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