Formed in 2005 at the College of William and Mary and currently hailing from Washington D.C., Caustic Casanova has seen a tumultuous decade. Almost losing drummer/vocalist Stefanie Zaenker to a near-fatal accident wasn’t enough to keep them out of the game. Following up the commercial and critical success of 2012’s Someday You Will be Proven Correct and the departure of the group’s original guitarist, Breaks bleeds solidarity and sounds like the effort of close friends. How will the addition of new guitarist Andrew Yonki shift Casanova’s dynamic?
“Thundersnow” opens Breaks with a confident pace and hungry riffs, opening up to a space where listeners can’t help but pay attention to Francis Beringer and Zaenker exclaiming “A dream is real while it happens,” setting a tone of immediacy and freedom that carries throughout. “Show Some Shame” showcases Casanova’s uncanny ability to shape-shift from one genre to another, even within verse, handling transitions between punk and metal with ease. “Quetzelteca Deathswitch Blues” has a runaway beat and a natural performance. The album sounds organic enough to convince you it’s from a past decade. “No Sky July” is a stretch display of psych-rock that drags on a tiny bit too long but really hammers home Caustic Casanova’s patience and willingness to expand one concept as far as they can. “The Painted Desert” is brawny and spaced-out, closing out Breaks with a sweeping display of genre-bending that gently brings you down to earth.
Breaks is unforced and patient, with a brooding and driving sensibility. The group is clearly unafraid to dwell on certain musical ideas, occasionally fleshing them out to the point of excess. The pacing may not be perfect but the approach is refreshing. It’s clear that after losing their old guitarist, the core members stepped to the front. The bass-heavy sound catches your attention because it doesn’t breath currency and it doesn’t try to fit in. Caustic Casanova is putting out a solid entry into an unsaturated region of rock sub-genre mash, with elements of post-punk, post-rock, post-metal, progressive, blues, and hard rock coming together in an altogether endearing vibe that feels like a house show minus the amateurism. There’s no pretension here, but their is a healthy amount of heart and guts.