Caustic Casanova won’t be going full-on metal anytime soon, but their brand of quirk rock is noticeably heavier on their third album, God How I Envy the Deaf. The performances have an aggressive edge overall with the guitar tone picking up some extra girth, the bass boasting more grit, and the drums hitting harder while still maintaining those unorthodox rhythms. Acquiring a second guitarist since their last full-length likely plays into it but the inherent construction of songs like “Filth Castle” draws more on their influence from groups like Soundgarden and Melvins.
Of course, the band still places great priority in experimentation. There’s a fair amount of time devoted to tripped out atmospherics as “Memory King” slips in some lyrical references to mid-80s Rush while “Roger B. Taney” pairs a doomy buildup with a sweeping guest appearance from vocalist Emily Danger. I also dig the hazy stomp on “If Your Brain is Properly Oiled” as well as the playful punk on “Taos Lightning.”
The structures also feel more focused than the topsy-turvy riffing patterns and angular vocal interplay would suggest. There is an array of tempo changes with plenty of opportunities for whiplash, but the melodies manage to come out memorable. There’s still some sense of wandering about with the closing “Boxed and Crated” in particular encompassing the album’s various influences across its ten-minute runtime, but it feels less haphazard once you get used to it.
Overall, Caustic Casanova remains as hard to define as ever on their third album. The band’s penchants for wild performances and eccentric stylistic choices aren’t going anywhere, but the amped up heaviness may make it more palatable to more aggressively minded listeners. You might have to be in a certain mood to fully embrace the madness, but this just might be the band’s strongest showing so far.
“If Your Brain is Properly Oiled”
“Roger B. Taney”