Caspian make a case for post-post-rock with ‘Waking Season’
How do you describe a band whose music outgrows their prescribed genre? For the Massachusetts-based post-rock quintet Caspian, the release of their third full-length album may make the need for a new descriptor necessary.
“When I think of post-rock, I immediately think of 2003 to 2005,” says Calvin Joss, a guitarist and founding member of Caspian. “I think of long, drawn-out, guitar-oriented songs that are thematic and big: bands like Mono, God Speed You! Black Emperor and Explosions in the Sky.”
Caspian certainly began as a post-rock band, but over time their sound has evolved. Their latest album, “Waking Season,” which drops today, features a number of elements not typically associated with the genre. One song, “Gone in Bloom and Bough,” even includes vocals (a first for the band); others incorporate samples and electronic sounds.
“We never felt a duty to be post-rock,” says Phil Jamieson, who also plays guitar. “We just view ourselves as our own separate entity — as Caspian.”
Caspian’s larger-than-life yet beautifully melodic sound has the ability to transport listeners. Even a commute to work accompanied by a Caspian record can feel like you’re living inside a scene from an epic film. This fact has earned Caspian’s music spots on an HBO boxing special and in a number of TV shows, including “CSI:Miami” and MTV’s “Teen Mom.”
“Waking Season” has also received advance praise from the likes of Spin and Alterna-tive Press, which hailed the album as “one of the best records of 2012.”
“There’s more on this record that draws from each of our individual influences — the music we actually listen to,” explains Joss. “The depth and texture, and the use of a lot of different instruments, breaks out of the mold of what people consider post-rock.”
While their sound has evolved, the members of Caspian don’t worry about alienating fans.
“We never underestimate the ability of our audience to grow with us,” says Jamieson.
Caspian formed in 2003 out of the remnants of a few other bands on Massachusetts’ North Shore. They played their first shows to friends and fans in sports bars in Beverly, about 25 miles north of Boston, where most of the group’s original members, including Jamieson and Joss, were living.
The band recorded a demo in a friend’s house in 2004 and had their first break opening for Japanese post-rockers Mono later that year. They released their debut EP, “You Are the Conductor” in 2005 and immediately hit the road, touring nearly nonstop and returning home only to write and record.