Listeners would be forgiven for checking the liner notes of the Headcases' first U.S. album for a copyright date: although recorded and released in 2007, this French trio's collective heart is on Touch and Go Records circa 1995. Think Seam, Pegboy, and especially, Girls Against Boys -- that is, if the sound of those bands can come easily to mind; unfortunately, one of the main elements the Headcases have in common with their obvious inspirations is a general lack of truly memorable songs. Even the strongest tune here, "Forgot the Recipe," gets over as much due to an inventive start-stop arrangement and some ear-grabbing treatments applied to Pierre-Louis François' vocals as it does to the song's own merits. For most of Castaway But Blessed, François, bassist Laurent Paradot, and drummer Matthieu Gazeau cop the heavy vibe of post-grunge indie rock on superficially catchy tunes like "Juggernaut Friend" and "Tales of Far Lands," but without much beyond youthful earnestness and energy for the listener to grab onto.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason