Review: Casey – ‘How to Disappear’

When the Welsh post-hardcore outfit Casey announced that they were splitting up in December 2018, it came as a massive shock and felt like it truly came out of nowhere. In that same year, they released their harrowingly confessional sophomore album Where I Go When I Am Sleeping to critical acclaim, and also toured extensively around the world as part of Impericon’s Never Say Die! Tour, as well as a UK/Europe headlining tour which kept selling out as the tour progressed. So when the band posted a statement saying that they would “lay Casey to rest” and embark on one final tour (aptly titled the It’s Time For Us to Bury Our Love tour), it felt like an integral part of the UK underground music scene had just abruptly disappeared into thin air; all signed off with a final sentence of “All our love, forever”. But, thankfully, it didn’t last forever.

Fast forward to December 2022, after the horrors of the pandemic ensued, and the band finally returned, bringing with them 2 brand new songs and a reunion tour that completely sold out. And here we are in the first few days of 2024, which sees the group release their highly anticipated 3rd album How to Disappear. Hopefully not hinting at another split with its daunting title, the record serves as a perfect continuation from where they left off a few years ago, whilst also leaving room for them to reinvent their style, incorporating more atmospheric and melodic moments into the mix. It’s a concept that may seem daunting to the most die-hard Casey fans out there, but the payoff is insurmountably worth it.

The record begins with Unique Lights, which sets the mood and tone of the upcoming 12 tracks perfectly. The listener gets a healthy mix of soft, ethereal soundscapes and heavy, anthemic moments that, when combined, create some of the most beautiful-sounding post-hardcore music that I’ve heard in recent years. The pre-chorus refrain of “I need you to know that I’m happier now than I’ve ever been” is brutally honest and emotionally charged, in that it relates to the acceptance that one eventually feels following on from the sinking feeling of grief. The ending elegantly transitions into the harsher title of I Was Happy When You Died, which slowly builds into more of a raw sound; one that marries growling screams with a pop-punk riff that would make bands like The Wonder Years and La Dispute kick themselves for not coming up with it sooner. The sudden tempo shift in the last verse is one that took me by surprise and felt very much like the calm after the storm, as the whole piece became more sombre until the last hit of a cymbal and the last pluck of a chord.

How to Disappear serves as a true testament to just how heartbreakingly beautiful and intricate Tom Weaver’s lyricism can be, with so many tracks containing stand-out lyrics that are just begging to be sung out in unison at their upcoming shows, or tattooed on fans’ bodies, or both. On their single Selah, there is a sweet and simple refrain of “How could I know peace?” that is sung over a dynamic build-up, which eventually gets coupled with a ghostly overlay of “Should I be afraid? ‘Cause in the end, I know that death will greet me as a friend” that swims over the reverb’s wavy currents. Perhaps my favourite verse on the whole record comes from the anthemic For Katie, where Tom confesses “I barely remember anything before my twenties/When I think back, I only see an apoplectic wreck/Numb behind the eyes but scared to death”.

The 84-second track St. Peter is another key highlight on the record. Breaking the constant dreamy/heavy split that the previous 7 songs presented, we instead get a simple equation: Tom + a piano + a room mic. The result of this musical equation reveals easily the most raw and emotional track on the whole album; a quick little song with Tom singing 2 short verses about his loved one leaving for heaven instead of staying on Earth with him. The line “So if you have to leave, I can’t say that I’d understand/but, my love, I will wait, like I always have” pulled at my heartstrings with such ferocity that I had to actually pause my album playthrough and play the track again and again, in order to fully encapsulate the depth that this short song had before it led into Puncture Wounds to Heaven, the lead single for the whole album.

5 years is a hell of a long time to wait, but in the case of How to Disappear, the wait was well and truly worth it. Simply put, this album is remarkable. I can just tell that fans everywhere will be constantly repeating this for the next couple of months, whether they’re new to the world of Casey or lifelong lovers of the band. Their musical journey continues to evolve, and it makes for a stellar discography, whereby the band will keep you on your toes with every release that gets put out. We’re only 12 days into January, and it seems that How to Disappear is already a very strong album of the year contender. Welcome back Casey, we missed you dearly.

Review – Joe Richardson

Photo Credit: Martyna Bannister

‘How To Disappear’ is available now via Hassle Records, more information here.

Casey will be taking the album on a host of UK, European, Australian, and North American tour dates in 2024:

North America tour w/ Holding Absence:

Jan 16 WA Seattle Neumos
Jan 17 OR Portland Hawthorne Theatre
Jan 19 CA Roseville Goldfield Trading Post
Jan 20 CA Los Angeles The Echoplex
Jan 21 CA Anaheim Chain Reaction
Jan 23 AZ Mesa The Nile
Jan 24 NM Albuquerque Launchpad
Jan 26 CO Denver Marquis Theatre
Jan 27 KS Lawrence The Granada
Jan 28 TX Dallas Southside Music Hall
Jan 30 TX San Antonio Rock Box
Jan 31 TX Houston Rise Rooftop
Feb 02 FL Tampa The Orpheum
Feb 03 GA Atlanta The Masquerade
Feb 04 TN Nashville Basement East
Feb 06 OH Cleveland Mahall’s
Feb 07 IL Chicago Bottom Lounge
Feb 09 MI Detroit The Shelter
Feb 10 ON Toronto Velvet Underground
Feb 11 QC Montreal Le Studio TD
Feb 13 MD Baltimore Soundstage
Feb 14 NY New York Gramercy Theatre
Feb 16 PA Philadelphia Foundry @ The Fillmore
Feb 17 MA Worcester Palladium

UK and EU headline tour:

Mar 26 UK London Islington Academy
Mar 28 DE Hamburg Sporthalle *
Mar 30 DE Leipzig Messe *
Mar 31 DE Oberhausen Turbinenhalle *
Apr 02 NL Utrecht TivoliVredenburg
Apr 03 BE Antwerp Trix
Apr 05 CH Zürich X-Tra *
Apr 06 DE München Zenith *
Apr 07 AT Wien Arena *
Apr 09 FR Paris Petit Bain
Apr 11 UK Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Apr 12 UK Bristol SWX
Apr 13 UK Manchester Academy 2
Apr 14 UK Glasgow Garage

Australia w/ Dayseeker

July 7 AUS Perth Magnet House,
July 9 AUS Adelaide Lion Arts Factory
July 11 Brisbane Tivoli
July 12 Sydney Liberty Hall
July 13 Melbourne Forum

* Impericon Festival

For more information:
https://www.facebook.com/Caseytheband
https://www.instagram.com/caseytheband
https://twitter.com/bandcalledcasey

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