Casey photo by Martyna Wisniewska
South Wales’ melodic hardcore upstarts, Casey, recently released their boundary-pushing debut full length, Love Is Not Enough. The record was released on February 24th via Hassle Records. Casey excel at blending bursts of unbridled hardcore aggression with hauntingly melodic passages, a dichotomy that many bands dabble in but few manage to make this compelling. Bolstered by powerful lyrics that further the band’s mastery of conflict and document the shortcomings of an emotion even as joyful as love, the songs on Love Is Not Enough are often brutally honest, but never less that captivating.
The overarching theme of the album is that love, as a single entity, is rarely a be-all and end-all solution to difficult situations. It considers love in many forms (the love of a sibling, a parent, a partner, of self), and how a shortcoming may arise.
1. “Bloom” is an attempt to describe the feeling of deterioration and decay brought about by introversion through my depression. It discusses the idea that a self-deprecating cycle of blame and isolation tends to take control, distracting me from any attempt to improve my state of mind; in the line “too busy pulling out my teeth to bite the hand that made me weak” teeth are used as a metaphor for self-regard and pride.
Toby and I wrote the music to this, well, at least the skeleton structure to the song, in about 30 minutes. It began at a restaurant near his house, with me tapping out a beat on the table and him humming the opening bass line.
2. “Little Bird” considers the feeling of helplessness that results from knowing a loved one is in emotional distress, but being too emotionally naïve or unprepared to help support them through it. It is exemplified in the lines “it took hours of silent phone calls for me to realise, that just because you act with the best of intentions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t be wrong” and “I’m sorry I could never find the words to say, I had chewed them all into my tongue; negligence has left me frail, I never asked to fall in love so young”.
Metaphorically, 3. “Darling” follows on thematically from the song Teeth (one of the singles we released prior to Love Is Not Enough), making several references to the lyrics, both directly and retrospectively. It reaffirms the sentiment of loneliness in the wake of a failed relationship, and the longing to make amends without knowing how to approach the situation.
I tend to draw comparison between literal and metaphorical objects and instances quite a lot in my lyrics; often switching between the two within the same line. Darling has my favourite example of that on this album; “Sorry Darling but I’ve been wasting my time rotting the teeth out of my head, trying hard to swallow the sweetest sentiments I can’t express”.
4. “Sleep,” being one of the most aggressive compositions on the record, is an abrasive statement regarding the weight of the burden that mental health issues placed on me when growing up; personified by the line “… the hardest part of all is trying to justify self-deprecation, when I am constantly surrounded by sources of love and affection”.
This was actually the first song ever written by this project; it was when Liam and I were just treating it as a studio band, at the start of 2014, and Sleep, although it sounded quite different to the way it does now, was the first passage of music we recorded.
5. “Happy” and 6. “Haze” are reflective pieces surveying a failing relationship, as the rose-tinted lens of hindsight fades. The house, and its contents, are used metaphorically to symbolize the love that a couple creates, and live within. The differentiation between “home” and “house” is used in the conclusion to acknowledge that whilst a structure still exists, it is devoid of the love that it once signified.
Much as in “Haze,” the spoken word piece 7. “Passion Flowers” focuses on the reflection of time past; centering itself in the bedroom of the “home” where love was experienced most intimately. It progresses to mention the room being redecorated, and the emotions it facilitated being forgotten, but concludes in an admission of failure from both parties involved; “A defeat less gracious, and more begrudged, because even children are capable of love…but we weren’t”.
8. “Ceremony” was written to vent the frustration that hindsight gives rise to; in this case, the realization that an extensive period of emotional oppression has been suffered under the guise of a sincere relationship. The opening paragraph describes how an unrequited affection was pursued in the belief that true love prevails, only to lead into disappointment and disenfranchisement. As in Bloom, “teeth” are used as a metaphor for autonomy.
On the album, this song features our friend Michael McGough of Being As An Ocean; however, when promoting the song online, and even in the track listing, we’ve neglected to mention it. During the writing and recording of this album, Michael was going through a set of personal circumstances that really reflected my own, and so as a result, this album held a great deal of sentimental value to him. We agreed between us that we’d like him to feature on a song, but only because it meant so much to both of us, not as a tool to promote the band.
9. “Cavities” is a dedication to my brother Jack. It gives a slight insight to the medical issues that have plagued him throughout his life, but progresses to focus primarily on the love and positive support he’s instilled in me, which on more than one occasion has saved my life.
The music for “Cavities” was written and recorded in a day, at Monnow Valley Studio. Max had completed all his drum tracking in 3 and a bit days, but we’d booked 5 days to make sure he had enough time. So on the 5th day, Max, Toby and I sat in the control room and listened through a load of records that we were enjoying at the time to see how they balanced their sound. As a result we decided that we needed something more abrasive and straight towards the end of the album, and Cavities was the result.
10. “Doubt” was written as an admission of fault, an apology, and an attempt to communicate the thoughts and emotions which caused selfish isolation in the past. “For all of my noise I am nothing more than a sensitive child” conveys the idea that despite the abrasiveness and emotional intensity regularly portrayed in Casey’s music, it is often an effort to mask a feeling of vulnerability and guilt.
“Doubt” was actually the final song written for the album lyrically; and I feel that it was the product of emotional exhaustion. After weeks of writing towards the other songs, some being the most visceral and open that I’ve ever written, there needed to be a small amount of reprieve.
11. “Mourning” could be considered as the sentimental progression of the song Hell, utilising a small section of the original composition to echo the emotions conveyed within it. As a conclusion to the album, Mourning discusses the realisation that a relationship, and its ensuing period of emotional instability, are truly over. The crescendo brings the record full circle, retrospectively referencing lyrics from Bloom, before closing with an updated rendition of the Hell chorus.
The idea for the reprisal of Hell was something Toby had wanted to do for a long time, because he felt that it closed the initial chapter on the band, and it provided the opportunity for me to indefinitely close out the lyrical themes for which we’d become most associated.