The Cast of Cheers

Family

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AllMusic Review by

Sure, they have one of the best band names of their era, but you can only coast on that kind of thing for so long. Fortunately, the Cast of Cheers also happen to have an abundance of actual talent to go along with their crafty moniker. The young Irish band's D.I.Y. debut effort, Chariot, entered the world as a free Bandcamp download that earned the group plenty of attention from both indie pop fans and the music world. The next chapter in the band's story is Family, presumably recorded in something more than the three days it took to assemble Chariot, and overseen by Foals producer Luke Smith. For most of Family, the Cast of Cheers keep things sounding simultaneously jittery and jubilant, with jumpy polyrhythms, edgy, angular riffs, and clipped, concise vocals that somehow seem to evoke both encroaching anxiety and cathartic outburst. The skittering, tightly wound sound the band achieves here bears echoes of Vampire Weekend's arch global groove, Peter Bjorn and John's perky indie pop, and the complex art pop textures of Field Music, without ever feeling derivative of any of the aforementioned artists. There's an invigorating kind of breathlessness permeating Family -- even when things calm down a bit for the relative respite of "Palace and Run," the band can't resist throwing in some quirky rhythmic counterpoint. And by the time they tear into the opening of the final song, the appropriately titled "They Call It a Race," the herky-jerky, stop-time guitar riff and clattering, cowbell-driven groove feel like fresh blood pumping through the veins of a well-primed athlete immersed in a peak performance.

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