Casey Shea - In Your Head
Record Label: Family Records
Release Date: Feb. 10, 2012
After one listen to Casey Shea's sophomore album Love is Here to Stay, it was obvious to decipher that Casey Shea is in love with 70s album rock. And if listeners needed further elucidation, he makes that statement loud and clear on his latest record In Your Head. Though there's a good dose of modern guitar-driven rock ("In Your Head," and "Battery," come to mind); there's also a steady dose of vintage ("Let it Slide," and "No Son of Ours").
Shea is at best an above-average vocalist who knows his limits. Even on the title track, he never oversretches and lets driving guitars, a soaring chorus and a stadium-ready wall of sound carry him forward. Shea wears his love for The Beatles on his sleeve and nowhere is that more apparent than on the psychedelic "Jennifer," and the freewheeling "Chelsea." Whereas "Jennifer," is a straightforward pop song, "Chelsea," evolves at the three-minute mark from a laid-back, carefree and harmless pop jaunt into something deeper and drawn out and feeds off a guitar solo as an outro.
On the barreling rocker "Battery," Shea uses a bursting anthem to rattle off a yarn about looking for clarity in a distorted world. In short, it is a great tonic for these modern times and arguably one of the best songs he has ever written. That definite nod to the 60s and 70s is revisited in the fuzzed out and languid "Let it Slide," a breezy and wistful summer song. But In Your Head is not all one giant summer breeze, as the straight-up scorcher "Can't Get Enough," proves. On this one, Shea uses his innate swagger to serve up a steamy, rousing affair with rattling guitars.
But for all the winning moments on In Your Head, none are better than the study, Petty-esque "It Is What It Is," a restrained and understated cut that finds Shea at his absolute best. Never once does he tack on too much, never once does he try and hit for the fences, this is just a simple construct in first-rate indie pop. And it is there that Shea makes all the sense in the world and In Your Head truly shines. In the end, this is the sound of a Brooklyn songwriter who knows what he's doing, knows what he wants and knows exactly how to achieve it.
As a music listener, is there any more we can ask for?