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Casiotone for the Painfully Alone Vs. Children

On his fifth album, everyone’s favorite sad sack continues to move away from lo-fi production; in fact, Vs. Children often sounds like an actual band using actual instruments. Lo-fi fetishists might be disappointed, but in terms of production, Casiotone has never sounded better. Furthermore, fans can take solace in the fact that Owen Ashworth’s melancholy aura, storytelling lyrical style, and oddball pop sensibilities remain intact. If anything, Vs. Children is a more wistful effort than 2006’s excellent and moderately upbeat Etiquette. The dominant sound here is the piano, which anchors everything from the pensive “Tom Justice… ” to the ragtime stomp of “Optimist vs. The Silent Alarm.”

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