Cassia’s new Ep ‘Magnifier” is a shining beacon of upbeat indie pop, the perfect summer soundtrack. The band’s Short but sweet Spotify bio “Tropical vibes but not tropical guys: sums up their music perfectly. For 3 guys from the northern market town of Macclesfield (Rob Ellis – Vocals/Guitar, Lou Cotterill – Bass and Jake Leff -Drums) the songs they create have just enough magic in to transport you somewhere much more exotic. The band’s distinctly sunny sound is thanks to Rob’s grandparents. After living in Zambia, they brought home their record collection, subsequently introducing Cassia to the West African music that would be such a heavy influence on their own career.
Before the world had even heard of Covid, 2020 saw Cassia fly the nest and leave their Macclesfield home behind. Though, not exactly exotic, the band relocated to Berlin in order be closer to their management. Lockdowns, travel bans, and bring far away from the distractions of home, meant that the band had even more time to focus on making music. The band’s new home ‘Casa de Cassia’ has a purpose built studio, resulting in the boys living, writing and recording all in one place. This unique set up has meant this is the first time the band have had total creative control of their music. Working without a producer or engineer has given the band some much needed freedom in a time when the world feels full of restrictions. Talking about the EP, Rob is enthusiastic,
‘This time it feels entirely ours. It sounds exactly how we want it to sound.”
For any fans which have followed Cassia for a while this will ring true, the tracks on ‘Magnifier’ are subtly different to their counterparts from debut album ‘Replica’. Taking all this into consideration, the EP’s title is very fitting. The claustrophobic way the record was created, coupled with this new sense of creative agency means these songs really are Cassia magnified.
‘Magnifier’ has already gained lots of positive attention from critics and fans alike. The band are still riding the high of Annie Mac choosing Slow as her hottest record in the world on her radio 1 show. The song is reflective, describing the disjunct we have all felt over the past year, looking back to simpler times (before covid) and wishing you could turn back the clock. The slow and methodical nature of Jake’s drums along with the acoustic guitar chords let the song meander along at the pace of a hazy daydream. Though this is a song about looking back, there is a positive look to the future, the chorus is prefixed with the command “Gotta let go and move on”.
Right There is the standout track on the EP, a simple song essentially about sitting and looking out the window – something we have all done a lot of this past year. The chorus is catchy and guaranteed to get stuck in your head after the first listen. However, it is Lou Cotterill’s bass which really drives the song forward and will have you bobbing your head along instantly. A song forged out of the boredom of lockdown which is just begging to be heard from a festival stage.
Vitamins is a classic love song about a long-distance romance, made even more relevant in a post pandemic world. The song tells the tale of a relationship maintained through video chats and phone calls. The upbeat tempo embodies the excitement a call from that special person brings. The chorus ‘In a way you’re my vitamins’ shows the feelings of co-dependency that can be forged even when your lover is far away.
The final track on the Ep Gotta Get Through Til’ Monday is really interesting, a total change of direction from the 3 previous tracks. This song is much darker, and the sunny overtones have almost completely diminished. The song is about being there for a loved one in times of struggle. This is another theme which has sadly become a more prominent part of everyday life, the stress of the pandemic putting mental health firmly in the spotlight.
‘Magnifier’ still has all the elements of jaunty indie pop which Cassia have carved out as their signature sound. A signature sound which has won them a large and loyal following in the relatively short time they have been a band. ‘Magnifier’ takes this sound and refines it, some of the rawness of ‘Replica’ is gone. Now Cassia sound like seasoned recording artists. Cassia are ones to watch, and a band worth fitting into your gig schedule, something which is easily possible with their extensive tour coming to the UK and Ireland the autumn.
PHOTO CREDITS: CASSIA