6 December 2012

The Caste - Don't Cast Aside/ One Step Closer

Label: President
Year of Release: 1968

Timing is everything in pop. Have I said that on "Left and to the Back" before? I get the nagging sensation I may very well have said that on "Left and to the Back" before.  But forgive me, long-term readers with good memories, for in many cases it is entirely true.  If you accidentally invent the future, you can be damn sure that you won't be the person who coins the cash from your far-reaching ideas (Joe Meek would be able to tell you that if he hadn't shot himself, and I'm sure the BBC Radiophonic Workshop members aren't as wealthy as Kraftwerk).  There again, if you come up with a perfectly acceptable melody with a dated arrangement, the kids are going to kick your ass back to Hicksville, Daddio, unless you're deliberately pastiching a style which is at least fifteen years old.

This perfectly good single by The Caste suffers from the latter phenomenon.  The close melodies and gentle beats sail so close to the ballads which emerged at the height of Merseybeat that it's actually surprising it even got released in 1968, a time when beat had been usurped by psychedelia which in turn was about to be usurped by hard rock.  Whilst other bands of the period (such as The Tremeloes) did like to keep their songs sweet and simple, they were still usually given bolder arrangements in the studio, whereas The Caste have opted for chiming, stripped back minimalism here, guitars, drums and voice.

"Don't Cast Aside" is a pretty little single with fantastic vocal harmonies which recalls the earliest moments of the British beat boom, but even with Eddy Grant in session on lead guitar this was doomed to fail.  A deep shame, but from the safety of our radioactive bunkers in 2012 there's plenty to enjoy here. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a Hollies track (e.g. "I Can't Let Go") which would have been in vogue c. 1965-1966.

Alan (V.) Karr