From Belfast, Cashier No.9‘s debut album – the seemingly ironically titled To The Death Of Fun – has already enchanted some of the BBC6 Music DJs and I can see why.
Starting with the first single ‘Goldstar’, the album begins with a bang. A grand wall of sound complete with Timpani drums not unlike the production of Phil Spector, although more in the contemporary vain of Flaming Lips or Polyphonic Spree. Even though the band is already sounding quintessentially British, there are hints of a more classic American sound – this could even be a modern version of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born To Run’.
The sweet guitar riffs of ‘Make You Feel Better’ overtake and overlap each other with perfect precision, going from one hook to the next. As the chorus rolls in, your attention is firmly grabbed by the addictive melody and leaves you wanting more, and the simplistic verses provide a solid platform while you wait for the next chorus to arrive. The addictive melodies continue with ‘Lost At Sea’ – their next single – with the band diverting into more folk inspired pastures, faster paced, yet gentle; and it still has the depth that a contemporary British band can be capable of on a good day.
With a cinematic production and haunting vibes, ‘Good Human’ sounds almost like circus music, played at 33rpm – dreamlike and psychedelic. And ‘Flick Of The Wrist’ stays with the cinematic approach. As the intro comes in, it’s almost as if you’re listening to the soundtrack of a 60’s Western TV series. The Timpani remains a feature and helps to root the album in a grander setting and the wall of sound is still as present as ever.
The only slight let down to the album is ‘A Promise Wearing Thin’, with the band relying too much on the tried and tested strengths of the previous songs, with Echo & The Bunnymen’s ‘Killing Moon’ poking through the clouds in abundance. But when you think you could be losing interest, the band brings something cooler to the table in ‘Oh Pity’; the driving pulse keeps at least one part of your body tapping at all times and leaves me wondering how they pull some of these songs off in a live setting – with harps, bells and rich vocal tapestry, they sound like a 20 piece band.
The album ends with the ‘Lighthouse Will Lead You Out’ – returning to something more groove based with one toe dipped in psychedelic folk – then finally with a pleasing sigh, in the form of ‘6%’. Soft and sweet, but deeply melancholic, almost like a nursery rhyme or a lullaby with only the bizarre Chewbacca-like animal noise to randomly lift you as the song fades.
To The Death Of Fun is a very confident and highly enjoyable debut. Well produced but, at times, a little washed in reverb, although not enough to kill your fun. Cashier No.9 is a band to watch and not lose sight of, no matter what.
Released on 20th June 2011 by Bella Union