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Caspian at the Varsity: Screw Vocals, We Have Four Guitars!

19 Sep

by Rob Frost

When you think of music without lyrics, what do you think of? My thoughts turn immediately to classical music. Brilliant swells, colorful and drastic dynamic changes – hard to complain about that. Over the years instrumental music has evolved with the wide adoption of computers, guitar pedals, and synthesis. Who knows how it will evolve next?

Caspian, a band that started out in Beverly, Massachusetts, a mid-sized seaside town north of Boston, played for the first time at the Varsity Theater on Thursday night, opening for Minus the Bear and Cursive.  As I listened, I couldn’t help but feel as if they were pushing instrumental music in a new direction. They’ve already released three albums, with a fourth titled “Waking Season” coming out on September 25th. “Waking Season” is produced by Matt Bayles, who’s worked with great artists such as Isis, Mastodon, Minus the Bear, Russian Circles, and MONO. Caspian formed in 2004, but really picked up momentum in 2006 when they started playing overseas as well as across the United States. Playing over 500 shows stretching over three continents is a pretty amazing feat for any band.

Caspian’s sound is similar to that of Explosions in the Sky, but the biggest difference between these two seems to be attitude and dynamics. Caspian demonstrated a complete understanding of how to create a wall of noise slowly and dramatically. With the use of their impressive four (yes, four) guitar players, some rock-style drumming, and computerized psychedelics, it’s hard to believe anything else. Now you’re thinking, “How can I believe you, oh lowly reviewer, just based on the instrumentation alone, that this band has this amazingly different sound?” Well, you can’t. But listen to these guys, go see a show – they have a ton coming up. I promise, you’ll thank me later.

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