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'Neath the Pale Moon

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Album Review

Since the release of their second album, O'er the Mountain, the Cassettes have gutted and rearranged their lineup, welcoming Saadat Awan, Stephen Guidry, and Arthur Harrison into the fold. Likewise, they've traded in the sunny psychedelia of their previous releases for bold experimentation, confidence, and grit, and it adds up to their most enjoyable release to date. 'Neath the Pale Moon is a strange animal — a rollicking air-balloon ride over a landscape dotted with greasy resonator guitars, screaming accordions, and trippy theremins. Frontman Shelby Cinca admitted to drawing inspiration from the Beatles' White Album, "Rocky Raccoon" and "Honey Pie" specifically, and you can hear those influences peeking through on tracks like "Rogue Gnome" and "Time Ain't Right." Similarly, "Lady Fair" comes charging out with all the addictive rock sensibilities of "Revolution 9," "Loveless Lady" comes slinking in with trashy glee akin to "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?," and "Muja Chi Larki Daydo" comes loping in with the esoteric flavor of a George Harrison track. Like the White Album, 'Neath the Pale Moon is a genre-bending contortionist act. Songs dip into loose, plaintive front-porch blues ("Sweet Virginia") only to creep into dangerous, pounding, Gypsy-tinged indie rock ("Burgaler in the Bungalow") and acid-trippy interludes ("Our Whispers Wake No Clocks"). The length and breadth of the album might try the patience of a few, but those who stick it out will be rewarded by what they find on 'Neath the Pale Moon.


Formed: 1999 in Washington DC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Not to be confused with the British indie group of the same name, Washington, D.C.'s the Cassettes dream in Technicolor, churning out rock tunes with a psychedelic vibe and a garage rock fervor. The band initially emerged from Shelby Cinca's four-track recordings that didn't fit in with the angst-ridden sound of his noisier outfit, Frodus. In 1999, Cinca teamed up with his high school buddy, Dead Meadow bassist Steve Kille, and the duo began writing songs inspired by their parents' record collections....
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'Neath the Pale Moon, The Cassettes
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