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Cassino - Kingprince Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 9.25
Production 7
Creativity 8.25
Lasting Value 6.5
Reviewer Tilt 6.5
Final Verdict: 76%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.33
Musicianship 9.14
Lyrics 9.36
Production 8.56
Creativity 8.53
Lasting Value 8.64
Reviewer Tilt 8.83
Average: 89%
Inside AP.net

Cassino - Kingprince

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (03/01/10)
Cassino - Kingprince
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: Jan. 25, 2010, physical; Dec. 9, 2009, digital.


The tandem of Nick Torres and Tyler Odom, better known as Cassino, threw everyone for a loop when they released their debut LP Sounds of Salvation. Who knew that this duo, who once performed in the much-loved emo band Northstar, could pull off folk and alt. country so effortlessly? Sounds of Savlation was in a word, spellbinding. Sonically sound, refreshingly candid and exquisitely performed it reinvigorated those Northstar fans that found the band's untimely demise so unsettling. So it is with baited breath and much anticipation that said loyal fans have awaited the release of Kingprince, the band's sophomore follow-up.

Pushing the folk and country edges a little further, Kingprince features an array of violin, mandolin, banjo, harmonica and organ, but those instruments are unfortunately the only parts of the album worth writing home about. Aside from the overtly poetic lyrics, Kingprince is one hot mess. Before the hate mail starts pouring in, let's think this out thoroughly.

Sonically the disc leaves a lot to be desired with Torres' vocals never pushing their limits until the disc's latter half and emotionally falling flat far too often. With Odom now out of the mix, much of the pressure seems to be on multi-instrumentalist Edward Puckett and that may be where the album stumbles. Take for example album opener "Djom." Aside from the inspired lines, "And if you're not whole I will stitch that shirt you're wearing/And it will cover holes and stitch the skin you're wearing now and then, nothing about the track is remotely welcoming or inviting. There's also a 90-second harmonica intro that feels superfluous and odd. The title track/second cut is a mild step forward but once again seems to settle in the accomplishment of its mood and feel. Dark, dusky, agrarian.

All this is well and good, but there needs to be something with panache, something with resonance. Those traits don't come along until third track, "The Gin War," a wrought, selfless ode to the limits of control. Things ascend forward on the triumvirate of "The Ice Factory," "Maddie Bloom," and "Amelia," with the latter being most indelible. And then things begin to slouch again. "Cannonball," isn't entirely comfortable in its own skin, and "Debrickashaw," is a 90-second instrumental that most certainly could have been longer. As if cognizant of all the missteps and hiccups, Kingprince ends with a solid finish. The deep hook of "Ghost," paves the way for the disc's bare conclusion: the funereal "The Levee," and the muted "The River." That these three are the album's strongest songs leaves a lot to be desired. Why in God's name weren't they stacked towards the front? Why was there so much mediocrity before this rousing finish?

While it is probably not a popular opinion, Cassino could have done a lot more with Kingprince to make it flourish. Whether its allowing the instruments to shine or letting Torres' vocals take center stage, something about Kingprince needed to step forward. Writing a bare-bones folk record is not a tall order and Torres proved he can do so with the glimmering Sounds of Salvation. But Kingprince sounds more like a band that tried to be simple and earthy with little attention to anything else. Sure its light, simple and mute, but there are a host of better folk records out there that very sentiment in ways this disc never does. If lyrics alone can save an album, then Kingprince is a gem. Unfortunately, a disc needs far more than just words to make an impact.

Track Listing 1. Djom
2. Kingprince
3. The Gin War
4. The Ice Factory
5. Maddie Bloom
6. Amelia
7. Cannonball
8. Debrickashaw
9. Boomerang
10. Ghost
11. The Levee
12. The River


Recommended If You Like Avett Brothers, William Elliott Whitmore, Josiah Early, Justin Townes Earle


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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 94
11:04 AM on 03/01/10
#2
xapplexpiex
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Hmm...I love Northstar, but I just can't get into this band. But I will admit, the lyrics are great. Torres is a great writer. Not my cup of tea I guess. Great review btw.
11:34 AM on 03/01/10
#3
aolsux
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76% you have to be joking, AVA got a 77%

wrong, just plain wrong.
11:39 AM on 03/01/10
#4
Keagan Ilvonen
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76% you have to be joking, AVA got a 77%

wrong, just plain wrong.
Different reviewers, different opinions.
11:40 AM on 03/01/10
#5
muttley
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Love this album.
11:45 AM on 03/01/10
#6
IamTheINDUSTRY
glory glory
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"witty lines, "And if you're not whole I will stitch that shirt you're wearing/And it will cover holes and stitch the skin you're wearing now and then, nothing about the track is remotely welcoming or inviting. There's also a 90-second organ intro that feels superfluous and odd."


How is that line at ALL funny or witty? Clever and poetic, yes. Funny? Nope. Also, the 90-second "organ intro" is a Harmonica. Bad review.
11:51 AM on 03/01/10
#7
aolsux
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Different reviewers, different opinions.
fine: Wakey! Wakey! - Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said the Last Time I Saw You got an 88%

wrong, just plain wrong

I don't usually have problems with reviews because they are peoples opinion - and people are entitled to those or have a red name so they feel they have that authority. Regarding Djom, "nothing about the track is remotely welcoming or inviting." Please, that song pulls you in like none other. "While it is probably not a popular opinion, Cassino could have done a lot more with Kingprince to make it flourish." You said one thing I can agree with.
11:57 AM on 03/01/10
#8
*Ro'
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Surprised.
11:58 AM on 03/01/10
#9
MADSTA
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Deserves much higher than a 76% imo.
12:09 PM on 03/01/10
Gregory Robson
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"witty lines, "And if you're not whole I will stitch that shirt you're wearing/And it will cover holes and stitch the skin you're wearing now and then,” nothing about the track is remotely welcoming or inviting. There's also a 90-second organ intro that feels superfluous and odd."


How is that line at ALL funny or witty? Clever and poetic, yes. Funny? Nope. Also, the 90-second "organ intro" is a Harmonica. Bad review.
Clever/witty. Whatever. Get over it. Btw, fixed the harmonica part. Thanks for having a better ear.
12:16 PM on 03/01/10
SwedishHeat
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It's too bad Nick wanted to go in this direction. Northstar was probably my favorite band amongst the stuff I was listening to so many years ago. This alt country stuff, I just don't understand. Same with the new Butch Walker CD.

I'm just not into the whole indie/alt-singer/songwriter "let's use all sorts of instruments people don't usually hear into our music" stuff.

Oh well, some people know what they like and want to hear it again and again, and some people want to do new things. I've been living in the same town for 27 years and don't feel like moving. I don't like change.
12:19 PM on 03/01/10
Gregory Robson
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It's too bad Nick wanted to go in this direction. Northstar was probably my favorite band amongst the stuff I was listening to so many years ago. This alt country stuff, I just don't understand. Same with the new Butch Walker CD.

I'm just not into the whole indie/alt-singer/songwriter "let's use all sorts of instruments people don't usually hear into our music" stuff.

Oh well, some people know what they like and want to hear it again and again, and some people want to do new things. I've been living in the same town for 27 years and don't feel like moving. I don't like change.
I dont fault the direction. Sounds of Salvation was incredible. This just falls short.
12:27 PM on 03/01/10
reveriecowboy
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Fair review. I love both albums, though I am also more partial to the former rather than latter. However, Cannonball is no misstep. Great lyrics, great jam. "And I have worked my body so thin."
12:31 PM on 03/01/10
Sic Transit Zeb
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interesting review. I do get bored after 4-5 songs in a row so I can't argue with the score, really.
12:32 PM on 03/01/10
evvandflow
full of shit and free beer
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This review is long overdue. and now thats its finally here...a huge swing and a miss.
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