Cast : Beetroot

John Power's funkadelic reinvention

If previous form was anything to go by, Cast could have promised an album of Hungarian death metal and it still should have sounded like the Charity Shop La’s. Miraculously, though, the chirpy Mersey mystics appear to have happened on the meaning of the phrase ‘diminishing returns’. The salvage operation? It involves flutes, horns, the sound of the funky drummer, and what frontman John Power describes as eeek! a “Gil Scott-Heron vibe”. What’s more, impossibly and by the way, reader, you possibly can’t comprehend just how unusual this feels to write it’s actually [I]not bad[/I].

For the sake of tradition, though, first we’ll run through why it’s not actually very good namely, the continuing lyrical presence of the self-styled Buddha of Britpop, John Power. Still pedalling the trite as meaningful in a way that not even Geri Halliwell could ever hope to match, Power is so utterly lumpen he could enact [I]The Collected Works Of Proust[/I] through the medium of interpretive dance and still make it as unpretentious as Shed Seven scheduling a busking tour around York’s finest chip shops. [I]”Do you believe in you and me?”[/I] goes the main lyrical thrust of ‘Giving It All Away’, before going on to rhyme [I]”together” [/I]with [I]”forever”[/I].

Quick question: is Power now doubling up as a songwriter for The Tweenies?

Still, ‘Beetroot’ has its funky, chunky big-beat-in-a-Britpop-blender moments. Lyric aside, the aforementioned ‘Giving It All Away’ is quite possibly Cast’s finest moment, Power shedding his chirpy Scouse burr in favour of an oddly likable falsetto. Meanwhile, the very silly ‘Universal Grinding Wheel’, complete with parping brass band, is a pretty fair stab at Cast’s very own ‘Yellow Submarine’.

Cast could have made the album they’d long promised to make: an irrelevant trad-rock atrocity that would have buried their career for good. ‘Beetroot’, however, is an evolution. Just a shame that it only glimpses the future when it’s ransacking the past.

Louis Pattison