“I’m hoping cynicism will pass as lyricism,” Jim Beck, the driving force behind sibling duo Cassels spits on ‘The Weight’, taken from the pair’s recent pre-album ‘Foreword’.
“I guess it stems from a few places,” he says of the origin for this attitude, “people letting me down, not having a particularly sociable childhood, and our dad’s a pretty cynical guy.”
But in his mind, cynicism is realism. It underpins what Cassels stand for. Their noisy, edgy, deliberately jarring sound is built around a reluctance to idly stand by as our political climate clouds our futures. It balances apathy with anger, and through it channels a generational voice. A generation who are incorrectly dismissed as being inactive, but who are finding new ways to attack the establishment.
The message lies unfiltered over a unique sound only the UK DIY scene could cultivate. There’s no metaphor to hide behind. Cassels are antagonistic and brash, but more importantly, they challenge the norm, both musically and lyrically.
The lyrics are like contemporary poetry driven by the frustration of socio-political injustices, and fed by the ennui of growing up in a one-horse town. “There’s the old cliché that good lyrics stand up on a page without music, but in reality I don’t think many read well at all,” Jim says scathingly of mainstream music. “At some point I made the conscious decision to try and write words which could be read in isolation without them being obviously identifiable as being from a song.”
This originality bleeds into their debut-album proper, ‘Epithet’, whilst also attracting the attention of French filmmaker Rodrigue Huart, who was so taken by the band’s frantically poignant live performance, he chose to dedicate his time to creating an insightful and moving documentary feature. In it, Jim and brother Loz talk candidly about their upbringing, their scene, and their lyrical inspiration.
“I think it’s just an honest depiction of who we are as people and why we make the music we do,” Jim says of ‘It Is Punk Music? A Year With Cassels’. “The idea of being as honest as possible has come to be something of a mantra to us.
For Cassels, music is about authenticity. Together they embody the spirit of punk, even if their sound stretches the boundaries of any genre. They are young, driven and vastly intelligent, refreshingly unafraid to shatter the status quo.
“Creating a persona and having to act all the time must be fucking exhausting and confusing. If I started randomly talking to you in an American accent one day you’d find that super weird right? So why doesn’t that seem to apply in music?
‘Epithet’ further cements this youthful tenacity, and continues to paint them as one of the most unique, and most important, bands of our time.
The band have attracted coverage from the likes of NME, BBC Radio 1, 6 Music and Channel 4, as well as Radiohead's Colin Greenwood. As Punktastic puts it, 'there’s little emerging from the British underground that comes close to mirroring Cassels’ style.'
They’ve shared stages with the likes of Self Defense Family, Johnny Foreigner, Tall Ships, Car Seat Headrest, Beach Slang and Meat Wave.