There are some albums that simply defy categorization. Though they may sound familiar in this way or that, they simply refuse to be pigeonholed.
Caustic Casanova’s Glass Enclosed Nerve Center is one of those albums. Eclectic, energetic, and infectiously catchy, this record takes the upbeat nature of The Hives, channels it through the eclectic songwriting of Primus, then drapes it in the fun, carefree guitar heroics of J Mascis and Dinosaur Jr.—all before injecting undercurrents of Prog Rock, Sludge, Stoner Rock, and Metal.
Welcome to the sonic buffet that is Caustic Casanova.
About Caustic Casanova
Caustic Casanova is a Washington, DC-based four-piece made of:
- Francis Beringer – Bass, Vocals
- Stefanie Zaenker – Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Keyboards
- Andrew Yonki – Guitar
- Jake Kimberley – Guitar
The band has been active for more than a decade now, with their first album, Someday You Will Be Proven Correct dropping in 2012 through Mad Love Records.
‘Glass Enclosed Nerve Center’ Album Review
Release Date: October 7, 2022
Label: Magnetic Eye Records
Track 1 – Anubis Rex
“Anubis Rex” kicks off the album with the fun guitar heroics of Dinosaur Jr. The song is chaotic and catchy like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard at their very best, and the enthusiastic cowbell carries us through the song like a familiar friend. Eventually, the energetic lead guitar takes us to an enthralling solo backed by a thick riff and pounding drums.
And while “Anubis Rex” is an instrumentally layered track, it’s also the first glimpse at how complex the lyrics on Glass Enclosed Nerve Center can become. Just take a look at its lyrics:
A mountain in my mouth
Oh and a temple of teeth
How will I call to you when the sun’s fallen into the sea?
My skin cracked, my throat dry
Oh, my pupils are dumb
With vigor, come hither, and the next sweet shiver to come
Our story, it’s boring, oh but we tell it well
On this winter morning, at least we have a story to tell
Our lungs deflated like the old birthday balloons we breathed in
I have exhaled you, listening to the whirling wind
I thought I was in love before I knew you, I knew you
Track 2 – Lodestar
“Lodestar” is dark and Psychedelic—like a combination of Black Mountain and Ghost Frog. But despite its heavier, gloomier undertones, there’s a certain charming levity in its delivery.
Track 3 – A Bailar Con Cuarentena
“A Bailar Con Cuarentena” is a tightly wound ball of frantic energy, liable to explode at any moment. The song is as precise, quick, and upbeat as a single from The Hives or Eagles of Death Metal.
As on “Anubis Rex,” the lyrics are the hero on this track. Just check out the opening lines:
It’s business in the front, and piety in the back
The Autozone messiah says come on in let’s have a snack
We’re grilling sacred cows, it’s conquistador cuisine
A bailar con quarantine urges our spanglish language magazine
Track 4 – Shrouded Coconut
“Shrouded Coconut” features an explosive, jazzy intro before finding its true sound: a sort of psychedelic Primus with a massive bass and frantic guitarwork.
At more than nine minutes in length, “Shrouded Coconut” is the second-longest track on the album, and it experiments with a variety of different sounds and techniques (including an intriguing section about halfway through that sounds like a temple theme from an old Zelda game).
“Shrouded Coconut” is also the closest we’ll get to Doom on this record, as the song concludes with crushing, distorted guitars delivered slow and low.
Track 5 – Bull Moose Against the Sky
So far on Glass Enclosed Nerve Center, there’s been no telling what one song or another will be about. And “Bull Moose Against the Sky” is no different.
This is an eight-part song about some of the landmark moments in Theodore Roosevelt’s life—including moments before and after his time as President of the United States.
Running more than 22 minutes long, it’s an ambitious song on the same level as “Twenty-Twenty” by IKITAN.
It’s a captivating track filled with dashes of Doom and Heavy Metal—but I would highly recommend listening with the lyrics nearby so you can follow along.
Final Score: 8.5/10
Standout Tracks: “Anubis Rex”
Pros: Put simply, Glass Enclosed Nerve Center is charming. The album can certainly rock hard (see the heaviest moments of “Shrouded Coconut” and “Bull Moose Against the Sky” as examples), but there’s an irresistible catchiness woven throughout this record.
With the album’s inherent Pop/Alt Rock sensibilities as its foundation, everything built on top of it only adds to that initial charm.
Cons: This could easily become the most controversial album of the year, one that listeners either immediately love or unapologetically reject for its unapologetic experimentation.
Ultimately, the strength of this album rests in the strength of that experimentation—and there’s plenty of mad science happening here.
“Bull Moose Against the Sky,” for example, is long enough and complicated enough to have been a standalone EP.
Here, though, it’s delivered as a single track. Between its enormous length and obscure storytelling, it’s a demanding listen. And while overall enjoyable, I often found myself wishing for a reprieve just to catch my breath.