When Florida’s weather decides not to coincide with the “Sunshine State” slogan people get pretty depressed. When the state keeps it up for days in a row people begin to get a little bit antsy, and that includes me. Listening to music on rainy days naturally tends to evoke different emotions than it would on a bright sunny day, but the other day I heard a band that cut right through the gloom and depression that days of rain had brought with it. Casual Friday, out of Ada, Ohio is a four piece band that brings true, American rock ‘n roll to the stage with no shame. Casual Friday has just released a new, stripped down acoustic EP titled Rendezvous and it is that which finds me enjoying a rainy day. (Click Read More below the player to continue reading this article!
The introduction we are given to Rendezvous is a slow, airy track titled August Sun that chugs forward into the album with gang harmonies filling the background and a sharp, almost classic Smashing Pumpkin sounding vocalist who sits within the music. The song ends on a very Americana note that sets the stage for a smart album to follow. August Sun flows neatly into Kelli’s Song, a short, acoustic interlude which ends as quickly as it began and meets the next song, A Part of Me. A Part of Me, a lyrically charged song with a strong lead and simple, tinny, yet compelling, rhythm, flaunts the bands talent and sound as the vocalist crafts a story that allows the mind to wander. The song has strong rock ‘n roll roots with an almost classic protest feeling to the melody and, in my opinion, is the strongest song on the album. A Part of Me reminds listeners quickly of that folky John Mayer sound and, while one may get mixed signals with the feeling and message of the song, you may find yourself humming this one.
Dreams, the fifth song on the album, slams home with that Smashing Pumpkin-esque voice again, harmonica, clever lyrics, and a very full acoustic sound that mixes well to make a head-bobber of a song. Tambourine and a catchy chorus only add to the sound here and make this a very quick, memorable song which leads right into the final song. All You Need instantly reminded me of something that I couldn’t put my finger on. After a little searching, the song sounds like an amalgamation of a few songs (see: Fuel, Shimmer) from the late 1990s. This is a good thing, if you loved late ‘90s music, and not so much if you did not. Either way, All You Need is a great way to end the album with and brings the band’s sound to a nice close.
While the acoustic Rendezvous it a departure from Casual Friday’s normal sound it is certainly a step in the correct direction. Any tangible product a band can get out is helpful and I would say this EP has to be chalked up to a victory. And did I mention it’s free? Can you seriously not want to download this? Check out Casual Friday on Facebook or at Casualfriday1.bandcamp.com to hear, and not read, their sound.