CD Review: Casper & the Cookies

I’ve been grooving to this thing ever since it arrived at WUOG. Casper & the Cookies is yet another offshoot from another project or four. Whether you still know it as Casper Fandango or anything else for that matter, the sound is unmistakable. I met Jason when I was interning and actually chatted about socks to him during an interview. Socks. Seriously, it’s kinda awesome.

Artwork! There are tape ninjas throwing stuff at you from some post-apocalyptic black and white world. I don’t know whether to run away screaming or tackle one and put it in a tape player our of sheer curiosity of what would happen.

Little King Great way to start an album. It’s upbeat and immediately catchy. I found myself strumming the chords pretty absentmindedly and recognized the tune. When it’s that embedded in my brain, you’ve got a winner.

You Love Me A strangely constructed song with beautiful harmonies to begin and some techno touches here and there. You think it’s heading one way and then about 2 minutes in, it changes on you, becoming a bit more heavy.

Pete Erchick Bicentennial Service Area I love the bassline here. The entire song is jagged with forced vocals and a repetitive “and another minute passes” chorus. It’s worth a listen just for the interesting polyrhythms going on.

Sharp! One of my favorites. The vocals are up front and the lyrics are highly entertaining (“You know I’ve been out dancing and rocking, putting dollar bills in some college girl’s stocking, You’re sharp!”) Continuing with the album’s theme of the birds and bees, you hear a lot of references to birdies. It’s a central part of the record but this track is a phenomenal stand alone.

Song Across the Sea Absolutely beautiful. The falsetto on top of the drum machine and piano is just haunting. Toss in some strings and you have my favorite song of the album.

Little Lady Larva A bit of a shock after coming from “Song Across the Sea” but it holds its own as a heavily rhythmic track. Another killer bassline and female vocals. It’s a little difficult to make out what they’re saying in the chorus. Suggestions have been “I’m a doctor of,” “An nacho of,” and “I’m an Octorock.” Somebody’s been hitting Zelda a little much in the AMJ office.

Cloud of Bees Another phenomenal slow track that hits very well lyrically. “You’re nothing but pixels, you’re nothing but specks.” Just a bit of guitar and a few vocals prove the Cookies’ range.

Moldy Flower My second favorite track and the most obvious single from Modern Silence. It’s an old time rock and roll sound with falsetto vocals. I’m fond of the entire lyric which is interesting because I didn’t even pay them any attention until about the fourth time listening to the disc.

Meredith Eh. I could do without this one. It’s repetitive but not in a good way. Just feels like filler to me.

New Day Zero A more 60s rock feel with this one. Not really a stand out but it flows nicely with the rest of the album. It could’ve been cut and I wouldn’t have really missed it.

Nagoya A nice song about foreign cities that’s fun to just bop to. Heavy on the vocal harmonies and catchy chorus. This one’s the song that grew on me most from the beginning. Once you listen to it a bit, maybe you’ll like it to.

Keep Talking Anyone who’s ever had a crush on accents will completely understand our poor protagonist’s situation. Beauty is skin deep but a good accent is just damn hot. Piano and fuzzed vocals.

Sunshine Girl Went a completely different route than I thought it would. Starts with some cute toy piano and a strong female vocal repeating “Shine on Me” and then adds in a few more pieces as the song goes along. Fun one to explore.

Eulogy for Marcel Marsalis Oh dear Marcel, your song is a pretty awesome eulogy. It’s often forgotten that the piano acts as a percussion instrument too, a fact that the Cookies use to their advantage here.

Chocolate Cake and Coffee Oh god, I love this song. A soft mambo feeling here. It had me dancing (poorly, but still) at work. Got a few stares but I don’t mind. It’s a great song.

I Am Happy For some reason, the panning between the left and right on this song makes my eyes go funny. I’m trying to figure out where the sound is coming from. But this cut is a nice and slow song that I really dig.

Your Eyes of Gold An odd experimental track, there’s the completely off rhythm spoken vocals behind layers of keyboard. Interesting but not quite entertaining. But that’s just a personal thing.

I Am Gone Soooooooooooooo long. I wouldn’t mind if about four minutes got cut off this thing. There’s a lot of styles going on here. A metallic and cold voice sings “I am Gone, I am Happy.” You want to believe it but how can anything not alive show emotion? Dunno. So the song continues to weave in a lot of techno instruments, guitar, everything. Including the kitchen sink.

Overall, Modern Silence serves as a great showcase for Casper & the Cookies’ talents. There’s a ton of different styles here that all manage to flow together just well enough to make this an album, not a collection of singles. You’ve got a ton of different voices singing and each person will lean towards their favorite but you’d be missing out on everyone else if you only focused on the few you preferred. This is best for rainy days when you need something to fight the bleakness. I give it a 7 out of 10.

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