Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – Vs. Children

January 01, 1970




Vs. Children is
probably the most textured and advanced record to come out of Owen Ashworth’s
tenure as Casiotone For the Painfully Alone. Of course, the simple vintage
keyboard and drum machine sounds that have been his tools since the beginning
are still present. But, perhaps thanks to the production work from friend and
fellow musician Jason Quever (Papercuts), the record has a bigger, brighter,
fuller sound.


That being sound,
Ashworth’s lyrics and melodies are still generally morose, but in an “it feels
good to feel bad” kind of way. “Tom Justice, The
Choir Boy Robber, Apprehended at Ace Hardware in Libertyville, IL”
kicks off the record, a melancholy tale of a former co-worker of Ashworth’s who
really did lead a life of crime. This is vintage CFTPA, a sampled pop-hop
drumbeat under toy piano chords and an antiquated organ line. “Optimist vs. The
Silent Alarm (When The Saints Go Marching In),” on the other hand, is almost a
barroom burner, riffing on the standard the title references, with Ashworth
singing about raising a family “on Schlitz and Mickey Mouse.” Elsewhere, San Diego country-rock
band the Donkeys sit in to back Ashworth up, as does French singer Julie
Lispector (on the lo-fi electro “Man O’ War”).


Casiotone For The Painfully
Alone’s music dreams of better times but always manages to find the pleasure in
the everyday mechanics of work, life, love, and the human condition. And that’s
what allows an album like Vs. Children to speak to its listener clearly and empathetically.


Standout Tracks: “The
Simple Life,” “Happy House” JONAH FLICKER


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