For such a young band beneath the waves of the bay area residing near San Francisco, Case In Theory’s brooding sound has hit a climactic burst with their first full-length aptly titled Cinematic. Taking the delicate art of atmospheric prog-rock to its real potential is a monumental task to take on, but the execution seen here is vast and visibly appealing to even the most mellowed out of rockers.
Album opener “Mavericks” begins with a distorted clean riff that whines with just the right amount of angst, while vocal harmonies gorgeously set the tone for what’s to come. Next up, “The Night” showcases the group at one of their heavier moments. Vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Posadas possesses some wonderful pipes; he has a smoothly intense feel to his register when he climbs up the pitch ladder for some of his parts. This track ebbs and flows with no reason for unrest, just as “The Day” which succeeds it. “Run Like Hell” contains elements of dance-pop with its rhythm, which is a feature worthy of praise. There’s lots of fast hi-hat work during its inception which is bold, but halfway through, when it slows down to this great minor-sounding chord progression, it really hits home. “National Ave” is slower than the former track, and showcases guitarist Tadeo Ramirez’s intuitive work with pedal effects.
The title track is really a noble, but wise, choice in terms of song, and album, titles. Lyrically, the record paints great mental pictures, particularly with the line “some may stay in and board their windows/to protect their memories and prized possessions/and some may stick to the bare essentials/and flee to the nearest shelter”. This song is drenched with emotion. “Mavericks III” is a gorgeous instrumental piece, complete with wonderfully performed tremolo guitar work and a gleefully awesome melody. Taking me back to Circa Survive and Dredg, I can’t help but be impressed by such a young group. “Righteous Path” and “Fall of Golden Gate’ are both incredibly accessible, containing lots of head-bob moments, with the latter harboring an almost whimsical side to its integrity.
Nearing the end, “With Open Eyes” brings back that almost cataclysmic feeling present near the beginning of the record, drifting back and forth swiftly between smooth-as-butter vocals and an intelligent approach to the foundation courtesy of drummer Jamin Bracken and bassist Ben Everett. Something I must brag on is that right into closer “Mavericks IV” they immediately break into acoustic guitars for a bit, then simultaneously combine them with the rest of the full instrumentation for a wonderfully airy and atmospheric section of music. It serves as the perfect end to a powerful orchestration, and I’m astounded at the depth it contains.
Circling back to my original point, for such a young group these guys have got the chops to make serious noise in the industry – beautiful noise, that is. You would be outright insane not to check these guys out. I hope they feel like they achieved their goal with this record, because I without a doubt think they did.