Ask lead vocalist Leon Caren about the idea behind the title of the new Blues Brother Castro album ‘FUN’ and he sarcastically answers “Modern Life is fun, right?”
The catchphrase off the titel track ‘Just because it’s fun, doesn’t mean you have to do it’, certainly leaves room for interpretation. Fact is, where their first CD Moneymakerme (2004) almost exclusively dealt with life as seen through the alcoholically tainted specs of boisterous frontman Leon Caren, now it is time for a little 'contemplation' and - let's say - 'distance.'
Conspicuously labeled as 'alternative rock' (the way the indication of the genre was originally meant), Blues Brother Castro is as indie as indie could ever be. If rock was intended to be the anti culture, then this lot comes closest. Fun sounds like the definition of recalcitrance, but even in this there are various grades. Fun is different, and not only lyrically.
The intensity that the word 'blues' in the band name refers to is comparable only to that of the legendary Gun Club or Jon Spencer, and has remained fully intact. The music itself is also strikingly less one-dimensional than before. 'Sonically speaking, we were like a somewhat musty grey line on our previous album,' Caren analyses. 'On our new CD we've tried to give the songs a little more air, while also acknowledging that the songs have become more staccato in nature.' Early reviews have been quick to point out that the mission has been accomplished, with much consideration being given to the improved dynamics. One could say that on Fun, the line segments have begun to take shape.
'Fun is also more of a band album than its predecessor. We went through more of the process together,' In the past, he and guitarist Tjeerd Meindersma wrote the songs and then brought them to the rhythm section. During the Fun sessions, drummer Hajo De Reijger and bassist Mila Van De Wall were involved early on and throughout. Bass and drums are clearly more prevalent this time around, and have a bolder influence on the shape of the albums sound.
The fun on Fun is of a totally different variety than, say, the Fun, Fun, Fun of The Beach Boys. In an effort to explain Fun's subject matter, Caren adds, 'These songs are deeply rooted in modern life, finished off with a solid dose of sheer cynicism. It's more than just alcohol and relationships. Fun is definitely multi-layered.'
That layering is due in large part to the bands recent touring schedule. In the wake of their 2005 appearances at Popkomm and New York's CMJ Music Marathon, Blues Brother Castro toured the US for a month last Autumn. Then, when the band was invited to play the prestigious SXSW Showcase in Austin, TX, they saddled up and did another three weeks in the States in early Spring. Now road-tested and ready to promote the long-awaited new album at home, the band will embark on a lengthy domestic tour in June, and will sprinkle the calendar with dates in Germany, England, and possibly other European countries. An international tour is also being planned for later in the year with scheduled stops in Amsterdam, London, Paris, Berlin and New York.
Just because it's fun…
Leon Caren guitar, vocals
Mila van de Wall bass, vocals
Hajo de Reijger drums
Tjeerd Meindersma guitar
2006 Album Fun (Rara Records)
2004 Album Money Maker Me (Rara Records)
2003 EP Flirt
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