Published Sep 28, 2009Castevet's self-imposed description of "melodic beard punk" is more endearing than it is fully encompassing of the accomplished scope on their stellar full-length debut, Summer Fences. It's pretty clear that this Chicago, IL four-piece are a product of the Kinsella brothers state they call home ― most notable is the influence of brother Mike and his post-math pretty emo work in American Football. But Castevet are hardly a bad rip-off. An up-front set of man-gruff pipes (this is where the "beard rock" comes in) catapult the angular jangle of "Plays One on TV" into an enthralling shout-along post-hardcore anthem while also offsetting the, at times, challenging instrumental portions. Another listen through and the shape-shifting, straight-up, cinematic Explosions in the Sky-esque structures, best heard in "I Know What a Lion Is," reveal themselves to be an essential and rewarding part of the package. Summer Fences is a gloriously realized marriage of Castevet's influences with a name-making stamp of their own. It's surely a love affair for Midwestern '90s emo but it takes much more than a nostalgia high to proclaim that they've quietly released one of the bravest and best punk records of the year.
How important is being from Chicago to your sound?
Guitarist Will McEvilly: Chicago has played a huge part in the music we're playing. We all grew up going to shows in the Midwest and listening to bands like Small Brown Bike, Colossal, Cap'n Jazz and the Lawrence Arms, and it shows. There is also an amazing DIY community growing that is incredibly supportive and positive, and creating a lot of really good music.
There's a lot going on in every song. Is your songwriting collaborative?
Definitely. We all think up new melodies or riffs individually but it's when we all get together to practice that we begin to put these parts together and smooth out transitions and they start becoming songs.
How's recording going?
Great! We recorded six new songs and pulled from a much wider range of influences. We purposefully kept the new [songs] much shorter, more upbeat and, hopefully, a lot catchier. Nick's [Wakim] vocals play a bigger part and we finally bought some distortion pedals!
On a scale of one to head-implosion, how stoked are you to see Small Brown Bike reunite?
My head imploded so hard that it no longer exists on a physical plane; I'm just hoping I can find it again before they play in Chicago this December. (Count Your Lucky Stars)