Album Review: Casey Neill and the Norway Rats ‘Goodbye to the Rank and File’

Band: Casey Neill and the Norway Rats

Album: Goodbye to the Rank and File

Label: In Music We Trust

Rating: 5 out of 5

www.caseyneill.org

By Aaron Binder

When the day is young, everything seems possible; the next waking hours can become anything you want them to be.  Casey Neill’s newest album, Goodbye to the Rank and File, is very much like that thought.  Neill seems to delve deeply into small town life and the nostalgia that we all feel when we reflect upon our younger years.  This is the perfect album to play while sitting out on the deck with a cooler full of beer and the rest of the evening before you to do nothing but reflect and remember everything that was, is, and could have been.

It’s just bloody good, the storytelling, the diverse influences, the delivery, it all comes together to box your ears, but oh, you’ll like the bruises.  Anyone that grew up in a small town can associate with almost every single lyric on this album as Casey explores the themes of growing up in places where businesses still shut down for lunch and the only illumination at night comes from the sole stoplight in the center of town.

Casey Neill has something special with his words, his simplicity and storytelling draws you in through his sad, drawn-out voice; he’s seen a lot of life in a small town and you can hear it in every note his vocals touch.  The instrumental compositions are delicately placed and exceptionally complimentary of the sometimes lonely, sometimes upbeat, sometimes nostalgic vocals.  The music does draw from many influences, and where this can sometimes dilute a bands sound, Neill integrates everything from punk to folk-rock to country into his sound and knows how to shake it all together.

Lyrically, this is the best album I’ve heard in a very long time, musically it is almost as good, Casey Neill has hit a grand slam with this album.  There is so much more I could say about ‘Goodbye’, but you would all be better served to just go listen to the music.  Congratulations Casey Neill and the Norway Rats, I’ve just handed you my first 5 star rating.

Here’s their Myspace page to get you going folks:

http://www.myspace.com/caseyneill

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