(Easy Star Records)
Given his affable, soulful vocals and lilting reggae
rhythms, Cas Haley often sounds as if he’s trying to channel the spirit of Bob
Marley. Then again, once Connection reaches its midpoint mark, it also appears like he’s something of a John Mayer
wannabe. While brass-infused ska and radio-ready pop dominate his MO, it’s his
casual attitude that creates the most striking impression. Despite the
featherweight fare, Haley does his best to keep things cheery and carefree,
making him all the more appealing in the process. That’s a prime asset in his
favor, especially considering the fact that his old-school sounds resonate well
within the context of the tangled times we live in. Indeed, he seems reticent
to exert any real effort here, preferring to drift along, buoyed by the
cushioning of these jubilant set-ups.
Still, it would be unfair to describe these tunes as
immaterial. Songs like “Release Me (The Fear),” “Better,” “Take a Chance” and
“Counting Stars” come across as joyful and jubilant, a wealth of giddy vibes.
And that’s really not such a bad thing. If Haley avoids heavy lifting, it’s
only because he’s determined to avoid weightier concerns.
Me (The Fear),” “Better,” “Take a Chance” LEE ZIMMERMAN