Casablancas Release Their Debut Ep: “Please Don’t Be Like Me”

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on November 13, 2012

Good ol’ Pete Townshend. He releases a chunky bio, and the standout passage is the one in which he confesses he fancied the ass off Mick Jagger when he was young. Actually, he mentions that he fancied another part of the Rolling Stone’s physiognomy. But let’s leave it at that, OK?
It just had to be.
Then, Kelly Clarkson announces the release of her first “Best Of” package, and when you glance at the tracklist “Sober” is nowhere in sight. “When beauty meets ignorance they shout in the street”, right darling? What’s your excuse?
It just had to be.
And now, Casablancas release their first EP, “Please Don’t Be Like Me”.
And is it any good?
It just had to be.

Casablancas, my half-blood brothers from the Merseyside. I’m going to write a movie script about the time I spent with the core of them when I was younger, maybe someone at Disney buys it for the next “Star Wars” trilogy. For chrissake, they hired Billy Ray Cyrus to do a show! It can’t be that difficult…

This EP (download it for free) was recorded by the band and their producer, Álvaro de León.  Casablancas comprises Martín Rela on voice and guitar, Syd Jay on guitar, Nacho Lorenzelli on bass and Seba Moroni on drums. Álvaro de León added guitars, piano and Hammond to several numbers.
In case you want to put faces to names, there you go. Yes, I know. It would be delightful to have one of these magnificent photographs in which the whole band is featured in a clockwise manner. But I never learned to use Photoshop, I was too busy learning how to write movie scripts, OK?

Martín Rela

 

Syd Jay

 

Nacho Lorenzelli

 

Seba Moroni

 

The guys define themselves as a group of friends who love making music and having a good time on the liner notes. But that doesn’t mean they are doing things by half measures. No, not at all. They’re a true example of commitment, and a firm reminder that anything can be accomplished by sheer strength of will and devotion.

“Please Don’t Be Like Me” features five different compositions, all penned by the band. You have the two songs they had recorded when Casablancas came around a couple of years ago, and the band played their first “Pepsi Bandplugged” competition amidst pussy-willows, cattails and fluorescent adolescents. They are “0800 Casablancas” and “Liverpool”. They have been revamped, and their present selves are a lot beefier thanks to the fuller-sounding production.

But the new cuts are the ones that make more of a lasting impression, for the simple reason that these songs reveal a sense of dynamics that I just didn’t know the guys had in them. Besides, Martín’s voice has grown different – there’s more of a gruff in it. Time doesn’t go by in vain, I guess. It’s only natural that the moon and the sun will change places, as if in a race to meet the ribbons of the morning first.
And cigarettes can fuck up one’s voice in no time, also. Whatever. Martín’s vocals now suit the material a great deal better.

As far as influences go, the band’s beloved Artic Monkeys come across at every turn, but the wanton and carefree nature of most of their songs certainly brings to mind the Kaiser Chiefs, too.

The key to the band’s appeal is undoubtedly the driving guitars that are mixed at the forefront. If anything, they give the words in the songs a lot more solemnity, and (as a direct result) the EP has a much more mature impact on the listener. When the song deals with off and on romance (“Please Don’t Be Like Me”), what comes across is the fall of passion and the subsequent quest for redemption. When the song is about being bored and lacking prospects (“0800 Casablancas”), what comes across is a lust for life and fulfillment so large that the soul outwears the body… You get the idea. And I’m getting absolutely bored of trying to sound like an 19th Century poet.

The title track is really great, but I seem to think that the guys tried too hard to make it the standout track on the EP. And a mean-spirited person (say, a Grinch) would point out that the intro is very reminiscent to that of the theme tune for the TV show “Frecuencia 04”, which was called “Conozco Un Lugar”. Yet, the person who said that would also be revealing that he was a spotty loser back at school. So, their secret is safe…
Now, seriously, you take “Please Don’t Be Like Me”, add a more sinister bassline to it, and it could even stand a chance of being included on the forthcoming “Slenderman” movie soundtrack. Because a Slenderman movie is going to be shot, and that’s a fact. Teens, forests, blood, shaky cams… Hollywood loves that kind of stuff. And I could write the script, dammit! I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!

On the other hand, “The Appleboy” and “Marito (Love Songs & Cliches)” are their most promising songs yet. Great arrangements, booming sonics, lyrics that embody what the band’s all about perfectly… that’s definitely the way for people to take notice. And not humming the melody of “Marito” after having listened to it just once is impossible. The melody is bound to go round and round in your head, in the same way that Taylor Swift goes round and round, writing songs about her exes! I love you, Tay Tay, but if you want an honest piece of advice from a devoted fan who’s feeling overly-concerned about your wellbeing: it’s time for you to adopt a couple of cats instead!

As you know, last year I was commissioned by the Brill Building Society to cover Uruguayan music, and write reviews of our local talent for the rest of the world. A contract was duly signed, and (as agreed therein) whenever a Uruguayan artist was profiled on MusicKO, in addition to songs and photos I had to include at least one music video per artist.

And that posed a problem when writing this review, since Casablancas are yet to issue their first promotional music videos.
So, after lengthy personal conversations with each past and present band member and an even lengthier exchange with their management, parents and legal guardians it was decided to feature a music video by the contemporary British act that has exerted the largest influence on Casablancas. So, here we go:

The minute Casablancas release their first promo, this video will be dutifully removed, and replaced with their very own.

I don’t know, something tells me that the boys are releasing their first music video in a mere matter of hours…

And I can script it if you want, guys!

Guys! Please!

Please…?

 

This is Casablancas’ YouTube Channel, this is their Twitter account, this is their Facebook fanpage… you know, adding a string of links at the end of each and every review can get a bit exhausting. I mean, it’s so 2011! From now on, I’m including pictures for everybody to click on them. There, click on Ted to be taken to Casablancas’ website, where you can download “Please Don’t Be Like Me” in its entirety! Go on, you know you want it…

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