You probably won’t be able to tell from listening to them, but Casey may have actually done the impossible – they’ve actually sparked a civil, humane discussion through the medium of YouTube comments. Scroll through the comments on the official audio for their track Ceremony, a track where frontman Tom Weaver pours his heart out over a failed long-term relationship, and you’ll find a number of hardcore bros, traditionally the most stoic and face-saving of music fans, consoling each other over their own broken hearts. It’s a sight to see on its own and is well worth a look, but unfortunately, Casey’s debut full-length Love Is Not Enough has isn’t quite close enough to that level of revelatory.
Make no mistake, Love Is Not Enough isn’t bad by any means, a solid record of emotional hardcore with ’emotional’ in big, bold letters. More than anything, it’s reliable – reliably fraught with wracking pain in Weaver’s vocals, reliably wide in its instrumental scope to capitalise on this, and a reliably tight, concise package that doesn’t outstay its welcome. It’s a sound that’s comparable to a band like While She Sleeps in their slower moments, poised and elegant but never shying away from a solid punch with roaring, metallic guitar and a frontman who traffics in intense, throat-shredding screams. But whereas While She Sleeps have carved out their own niche with a fusion of classic metal ideals with a modern sound, Casey unfortunately have a tendency to hang around melodic hardcore’s trope-ridden benchmarks.
And honestly, that’s fine – when done well, melodic hardcore has the potential to sound good regardless of how formulaic it can be, and Casey are definitely good at what they do. Because, for every instance like Sleep or Cavities where Casey tread water in the genre’s stagnant pools (though neither are really bad songs), there’s at least one more of utter transcendence that suggests that, with a bit of seasoning, this lot could be stupidly special. The hands down best example is Haze, a track that begins with passages of slow-burning, spacious emo before erupting into its surging post-hardcore flurry with Weaver sounding utterly broken as he screams lyrics like “Is it serious between you and him? / I hope to God he makes you happy” with a white-hot intensity. Elsewhere, the pairing of the band with Being As An Ocean clean vocalist Michael McGough on the aforementioned Ceremony results in a potent, heartfelt slice of post-hardcore, and the shimmering emo guitars of Darling make for the album’s most insular, tender moment.
It’s hardly groundbreaking stuff, but Love Is Not Enough sees Casey tackling their craft with so much force and believability that it’s hard not to be taken aback. After all, if this is what Casey are bringing to the table as their opening salvo, an album imbued with so much honesty and passion, not to mention one pulled off as well as it is, they’re most definitely an act to make hardcore fans sit up and take notice. No, Love Is Not Enough isn’t perfect, and it does pull a bit too heavily from some similar-sounding contemporaries, but if Casey can put together an entire album of the same lightning in a bottle moments that this one has, Britain’s roster of top hardcore bands is about to get one name longer.
For fans of: While She Sleeps, Touché Amoré, Counterparts
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Love Is Not Enough’ by Casey is released on 23rd September on Hassle Records.