After five years, South Wales five piece Casey resurfaces with the haunting How To Disappear, welcoming a melodic emo evolution.

Release date: January 12, 2024 | Hassle Records | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Band Site

When I want to listen to emo and post-hardcore in 2024, this is what I wanna hear. The comeback album How To Disappear is impressive, deep-cutting and excruciatingly vulnerable. Casey‘s resurrection with this latest release dives off comfort zones: the lyrics penetrate, the instrumental ranges are exceptional, the themes exceed being profound. A lot of pain fuels the beauty of Casey‘s sound and the relatability on this album is almost invasive if you’re unprepared.

South Wales five-piece Casey makes one helluva return with the first full length release since splitting in 2018. The band released a first-rate sophomore album, “Where I Go When I Am Sleeping,” earlier that same year, so the disbanding was an acute shock for fans and the UK rock scene. Tom Weaver (vocals), Liam Torrance (guitar), Toby Evans (guitar), Adam Smith (bass), and Max Nicolai (drums) tell Kerrang! a split was necessary at the time, but the breakup was understandably emotional for the band and fans alike. The band shared if ‘[they] no longer felt creatively or emotionally invested in the art that [they] were making, [they] would lay Casey to rest,’ via Facebook in December, 2018. But Demi Demi reminds us ‘tough time never last; only tough people last.’ Welcome back, Casey.

I’m beyond moved by Casey‘s third release. How To Disappear has elements I love in great swancore works. Most of the songs use mellow instrumentals behind lyrics that revisit memories and analyze life’s pain. This story-telling format rather than using rhyme schemes makes the songs resonate with me deeply like I’m reading someone’s diary. Casey channels a melodic hardcore production to process grief and questions of existence.

I was taken over by a keen awareness of the pivot from Casey‘s pre-split sound from track one. Tom sings ‘It doesn’t feel like my place / to dictate / how you feel / when I’m gone,’ in a melancholy baritone on opening track “Unique Lights.” Those lyrics and the delivery strike a deep reflection within me: when I die, grief will hit my loved ones, probably without warning. My impending absence (hopefully a while from now) will strike a nerve in my loved ones that I’d never knowingly inflict. Maybe Tom’s also a control-freak, so I relate to his frustration heavily. This vulnerability surrounds the entire album as Casey delves into grief over loss of oneself, loved ones, and the lack of control in our state of existence.

Exactly midway through the opening track, a wave of relief washes over the fans anticipating Tom’s signature screamed vocals and shameless instrumental intensity. He repeatedly and with increasing fervor assures his audience, ‘I need you to know that I’m happier now / Than I’ve ever been,’ and fuck, I wanna believe him. The gradual tension building to Tom’s screamed lyrics that seem like he’s convincing himself of his words is emo as hell. I love it. That’s post-hardcore popcorn, extra butter.

Casey‘s resurgence isn’t sparked by copying + pasting their established sound. The melodramatic “I Was Happy When You Died” parallels Casey‘s old sound more than any other track, but mirrors the soft melancholy at the core of the album. Tom’s clean vocals shine, and I personally love the balance he created with less screamed vocals. “Sanctimonious” also pulls off that great balance in a valley and peak pattern. Max reels in the drums and Toby gently plucks the chords into lullaby moments, reminiscent of Scary Kids Scaring Kids‘ “Star Crossed” from their 2007 self-titled album. The unpredictable flow on most tracks could reflect the volatility of the album’s themes.

“Those That I’m Survived By” is my favorite track lyrically. The simpler chorus and verse structure make me reflect on thoughts I often have about my friendships. Tom says, ‘Coveted verbosity is without worth if I’m replete / With nothing more than shame / When I should be imbued with rage.’ I think this is a common, but self-deprecating mindset, and I’ve certainly been there. When you’re drowning in your own black holes, you feel like you don’t have anything to give, even to loved ones. We all deserve reminders of how loved and valued we are, but Tom sheds light on low moments where we’re incapable of this. This incapacity ignites his shame, where you can’t build a positive foundation for change. Knowing this, he wishes he’d feel anger instead, because at least it would push him out of inaction.

In true post-hardcore fashion, the album finishes on title track “How to Disappear”. Casey saves the most emo, painful, and honest thoughts for last on the final track. ‘What if you woke up to an empty bed / And a note that said / ‘Is it disregard or discontent / That lures the sparrow to its end? is a beautiful but heartbreaking sentiment summarizing the close of the album. Casey‘s shift from hardcore to a melodic emo sound shows how time changes everything for the better. I appreciate this wonderful album and the depths I reach with every listen. The five members reuniting yielded their greatest work yet, with an energy they’ll hopefully ride for a long time.

Artist photo by Martyna Bannister

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