Reviewed by Jack Derricourt
It’s always a shot in the arm when you hear an established musician take on their first solo album with aplomb. Guelph Ontario’s Tyson Brinacombe has been an integral part of multiple Canadian projects, including the seminal balladry of Esther Grey, for a while now. But his new solo album out on Little Room Labs, titled Casio Fiasco, is a treasure trove of introspection and sonic delights.
Just as the title suggests, the album is peppered with casio lines, making every tune familiar and sublimely dimunitive: Tyson’s compositions often feel like Steve Miller Band licks transformed for the living room. The lyrics deal in personal confessions, topics scaled to the sounds of the album: on “New Scene,” Tyson rattles out feelings of lackadaisical aging — “I used to be proud to be reckless and loud, but now I’m a bore.” — while “Fish Out of Water” resounds with friend and family dynamics (not fish dynamics, I swear). The production on the album has an appropriately homey atmosphere about it, with dry electronic drum lines and crisp guitar recording taking the main stage. The overall feel of the album is twee and fancy free.
There’s a lot to fall in love with on Casio Fiasco — the name alone is enough to grab hold of a large section of the music nerd community. “It’s You” has Beach Boys class, thrown together with synth lines and a bunch of duct tape. “Rabbit Marsh” is a dark waltz wonderland, and Tyson finds a beautiful balance between video game soundtrack and tearjerking piano work on the track. “Secretly” swells with a compelling, driving beat and a plethora of sounds familiar to fans of the Unicorns.
Tyson has made a singular record that should branch between fans of Caribou and Thee Oh Sees. It’s exciting to see such a great Canadian album come out. Make sure you pick up a copy for yourself real soon.
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)
Top Tracks: “Wrong Crowd” , “New Scene” , “It’s You”