Albums: Cast

Beetroot, Polydor
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The Independent Culture

Having spent more than five years and three albums painstakingly detailing just how deadly an influence the Beatles could have on popular music if their methods fell into the wrong hands, Cast's John Power has finally decided on a new direction for his band. If, that is, your understanding of "new" means the apparently unavoidable slide into turgid Seventies progressive rock taken by so many retro rockers (Weller, Ocean Colour Scene, Oasis) before them. In Cast's case, they seem to have decided that what the world needs now is a second-hand Jethro Tull, and have accordingly sprinkled tootling flute liberally over this ghastly hotchpotch of lazy, half-formed ideas and witless hippie babble. To be fair, it's only one of several styles they fail to grasp completely on Beetroot: there's the brittle funk of "Desert Drought", the languid funk-blues of "Curtains", the undercooked R&B of "Kingdoms and Crowns" and the turgid oompah-psychedelia of "Lose Myself" and "U-Turn", all equally risible and poorly handled. Power's lyrics, however, betray no comparable progression, consisting mainly of cereal-box aphorisms and vague, empty clichés such as "What you see is what you get" piled up one on top of the other with little thought for... well, little thought, period! It's one thing to write this kind of sing-along doggerel; another entirely to sing along with such vapid sentiments.