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Casey Malanuk Releases Debut Album: Review

This past August, we premiered the debut single, “Reminiscity” from Charleston native Casey Malanuk. “Reminiscity” was the first in the lineup of tracks that Casey had been writing, recording, and producing himself. He released several more singles over the past few months, and even a few acoustic versions of said singles. Then, at midnight on January 20th, Casey released the whole album.

When I first spoke with Casey about these songs, he told me that they were all different genres and that the album was more of a playlist than an album. Upon my first listen, it was clear that this album was much more coherent than Casey was giving himself credit for. Yes, there are a wide range of musical styles and influences, and it doesn’t follow a strict theme or tell one long story, but the songs all fit together, and the order makes sense. The common thread that runs through all of this is Casey himself. Hence the album title.

I see Casey as an album by a young musician who is looking for his place in both the world of music, and the world at large. He explores different genres and ways of expression, looking for the one that suits him the best, and ends up somewhere between alternative rock and indie. Throughout the entire album, we get moments of quiet reflection and careful lyricism, and then out of nowhere come the wailing guitars that show Casey hasn’t forgotten about rock ‘n’ roll.

Perhaps my favorite example of this is on “Ghost”. For the majority of that song, Casey brings out the Bon Iver vibes, singing quietly over airy acoustic tones. Then, near the end of the song, he ramps it up with a screeching psychedelic guitar solo. It’s unexpected and badass, which I think is what I like about it.

Despite my liking the subtlety of “Ghost”, I have to say the most well-rounded track on the album is “Conflicts”. It’s a straight-up rock song, with good, consistent energy throughout, a catchy hook, and a steady buildup in intensity that climaxes in the final verse. I can easily see it being thrown in rotation on 105.5 The Bridge in the coming weeks.

According to Casey, this album is just the beginning for him. He has been working on several collaborations with other musicians that will be surfacing shortly. He also has plans to release the acoustic b-sides to this album on Youtube, so you can get an idea of where the ideas for these tracks started. A few of these acoustic versions are already on Spotify, so be sure to check them out if you like what you hear.