Johnno Casson – Window Shopping
out October 8 on Folkwit Records
As Snippet, Johnno Casson favors electronic-flavored pop with plenty of tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Releasing an album under his given name suggests an artistic departure of sorts, and it is clearly achieved on his latest release. At first listen, Window Shopping is full of pleasant sounding, pop folk. Repeated play reveals a deeply personal album, full of introspection and observation. Timeless themes (i.e., love, love lost and the human condition) are explored and depicted in Casson’s backyard, the suburban streets of Colchester and the northeastern English county of Essex. On Window Shopping, Casson abandons his Snippet persona to reveal himself, a man who remains buoyed above everyday melancholy and emotion by finding optimism and confidence in the comfort of familiar environs.
There is a pervasive sense of stoicism on this album. Depictions of difficult life circumstances are balanced with somber resolution and acceptance. We are pocked with “Battle Scars” through which we must endure, and recognize that we all face tough choices: “Everybody’s Got Sides.” We find solace in common activities like “Window Shopping” and realize that sometimes it’s just best to “Forget It.” Casson deftly describes everyday emotions and situations without placing a mirror in front of the listener. He communicates plainly, yet effectively.
On many tracks, Window Shopping works to maintain an even keel, but the quiet melodies and ebullient optimism of “Love Vibration” provides one of the true surges on this album. It is a sweet, beautiful oasis planted perfectly in the middle of the album. “This Is Essex” is another gem that basks in regional pride. It flows much like the odes penned by Springsteen to his beloved New Jersey, but with the observational lyricism of Ray Davies. “Out of Credit” finds Casson flexing wryly, “It’s not that he don’t love you, he was just… out of credit.” While “Whatever Happened to the Working Class” reflects nostalgia for a simpler time. At its end, Window Shopping is an album of entertaining, forthright observations. It is a worthwhile indulgence that lets the listener explore all the dirty corners without becoming mired in existential crisis.
Lyrics – 18
Composition – 18
Musicianship – 16
Production – 16
Originality – 9
Intangibles – 7
Overall: 84 (Recommended)
Check out: “Love Vibration”
Check out: “This Is Essex”
Check out: “Everybody’s Got Sides”
Pre-order: Window Shopping through Folkwit Records