March 30, 2011

Review: Generationals :: Actor-Caster

Actor-Caster is a collection of pop confections of the highest sugary order: honey-dripped melodies, choruses that crave to be sung out open windows, and foot-tapping rhythms all colored with a timeless and genre-spanning palette of tones and influences. From their 2009 debut Con Law to 2010's Trust EP and now Actor-Caster, New Orleans' Generationals have maintained an astonishingly consistent and high level of creativity. 26 songs into their young careers and the songwriting core of Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner have yet to make one false move. Instead, the duo have demonstrated a near insatiable appetite for explosive and dynamic pop music.

Actor-Caster opens with the uptempo blues guitar-driven "Ten-Twenty-Ten" and over the course of its 33 minutes never once lets up in its relentlessly tuneful pace. If "Ten-Twenty-Ten" serves as a fresh and contemporary take on Southern rock fare, "Yours Forever"—backlit by a stunningly bright synthesizer arrangement—feels as if it was plucked right out of a time capsule with Cyndi Lauper's 1984 album She's So Unusual spinning on the turntable. "Dirty Mister Dirty," propelled by a heavy 4/4 piano chord pattern, feels like a playful take on the classic rock cannon, recalling a more grounded and straightforward ELO. But at the core of each song lies a style that belongs wholly to this young band: a sharply-honed, imaginative, and lighthearted refurbishing of classic and radio-friendly popular music. While Actor-Caster won't make it over many airwaves, it will make its way through many a broadband cable as both this summer's quintessential album and one of 2011's best and unapologetically enjoyable albums.

"Ten-Twenty-Ten" by Generationals



Generationals

6 comments:

  1. well said!

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  2. You got me hooked on their first album...I must thank you for that because they are definitely my new favorite band. They are dance-able, but not overly so, just some good happy tunes that reminds me of summer and the 90's. Buying Actor-caster right meeoww.

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  3. Honored to have hooked you! That's what makes this all worth it. Cheers.

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  4. I love these guys also, Con Law and Trust, I've listened to them a thousand times, just FANTASTIC albums. Very, very hard acts to follow. For me, this one is a major dropoff, 2 very good songs, some okays and some clunkers. Not nearly as ambitious and the songwriting is just not in the same ballpark. I've listened to it many times trying to really like it but it's just not happening. These guys are hugely talented and original, I'm hoping their next album is bigger and better and back to form.

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  5. Trust was recorded after Actor-Caster, so in a sense their sound is getting bigger and better, you just wouldn't know it from the chronology of their releases.

    One area I find Actor-Caster missing, even though I quite enjoy it, is the drumming. Tess Brunet plays drums on the Trust EP and I think she just kicks major ass. Actor-Caster could use more of her presence and punch.

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  6. I definitely agree about the drumming, the girls in the band were wonderful. http://vimeo.com/7650213
    Drumming is just killer.
    Actor-Caster being recorded after Trust, very surprising, Trust seems much more experimental, ambitious, just plain better.
    It's not very intelligent review-wise to say an album just isn't as good but that's all I can say imho. Other than 10-20-10 and Dirty Mister Dirty, I've pretty much stopped listening to this album. Con Law/Trust, I've listened to so many times, the bytes are wearing out. Oh well, if everybody else likes it, great, they deserve a bigger audience.

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