"The Puritans" - Casador
From Argentina by way of Italy comes a young man named Alessandro Raina, doing musical business as Casador. And moody-but-beautiful musical business it is--a shuffly, echoey, minor-key lament, with a crispness and sense of purpose not often found in independently produced debut EPs. And yes, "The Puritans" manages to be both echoey and crisp at the same time, which is not an ordinary accomplishment; indie rockers in the '00s have tended to slop reverb on songs like whitewash on an old barn wall, boosting appearance without needing to clean anything up underneath. Raina instead uses an octave-lower harmony line to enhance his vocals in the verse, and maybe those lower vocals are touched up with a slight reverb, or maybe it's that chiming, reverberant bass at the bottom, but the end result is a rich, spacious vocal sound without tramping mud all over the rest of the mix.
One sign of the sonic clarity is how naturally the song can drift back and forth between louder/faster and softer/slower without creating any aural jolt. The introduction offers a sonorous interplay between acoustic guitar and the aforementioned bass; they are joined first by the vocals, and then, kicking the volume and tempo up a notch, the drums. Keyboards arrive at the chorus (0:54), adding another notch to the song's insistence, but right after that, at 1:34, we are taken back down to the quiet music of the introduction, which, with the addition of a few remarkably well-placed notes on a piano, feels almost thrillingly introspective at this exact moment.
"The Puritans" is the title track of Casador's two-song debut EP, which is apparently based on the ancient tale of the sword of Damocles. Both songs are available on the Casador blog; a third song will be yours if you order the physical CD version of the EP.