Tony Castles: No Service EP Review
It’s a bit hard not to categorize Brooklyn trio The Tony castles straight out of the box. For one thing the descriptor “Brooklyn dream pop” will probably immediately elicit some weary sighs from over-saturated music fans, and if you actually get as far as listening: lead vocalist Paul Siciliano’s falsetto at times sounds like a spot on impression of Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig. While Tony Castles may be cut from some of the same cloth as their indie scene peers though, there is also quite a bit that sets them apart. The band’s new Ep, No Service, shows more promise than the “just the next indie poppers out of Brooklyn” tag allows them.
For starters rather than just crafting a catchy hook and hanging an entire song on it, No Service is filled with four minute plus tunes that are fleshed out with modular shifts and intricately wrought instrumentation. Like their Vampire Weekend peers Siciliano and company traffic in jangly West African guitar playing styles, but unlike them they aren’t completely defined by that sound. The jaunty dexterity of “New Brain” brings to mind more the less pop-oriented style of Fools Gold, and tracks like “Black Girls In Dresses” and “Adequate Sheen” are far more defined by their hazy synthesizer beats than the guitar. They (particularly the latter) come off sounding far more in debt to dream pop and new wave than anything African inspired. Lead track “No Service” even adds in an element of Jamaican dub, proving that the band’s influences run far and wide. The best track though is probably the slightly abrasive synth/punk “Dream Job” which balances out its aggressive drums and bass with tinkling keys and distorted background noise. And in it Siciliano’s unhinged vocals are a far more welcome sound than his more polished work on the rest of the EP.
Though not perfect, The Tony castles No Service EP provides a pretty intriguing listen as well as demonstrating a lot of promise for the young band. While on the surface they might resemble on more face in the encroaching horde of Brooklyn indie pop, they do in fact seem to have the talent to set themselves apart.
— Jon Behm
The No Service EP will be available on March 15th via Famous Class.
Tony Castles: Site