-Greg’s Take- Castling Queen’s Side: CINEMA

Eleven songs coming in at a collective 41 minutes is what it took to reinvigorate a faith; a faith that a style of music could be anything but mundane.

There are bound to be comparison, sure, there always are. I say screw the comparisons to The National. Or better yet, forget The National. The name that will linger on the lips of the world is Castling Queen’s Side.  The six musicians, hailing from Zurich, will make their debut to the world with the full length CINEMA. The album demonstrates the immense impact a track can have on your emotions. Whether it is a feeling of elation or contemplation, CINEMA encapsulates you with its deep seeded vocals and array of instrumentals.

CINEMA is an indie-rock album that will distract you from your thoughts, so much that writing while listening to it is becoming challenging, and carry you into a world of serious thought while remaining enjoyable throughout.  Helene Munzinger, Robert Mazi, Tobias Brunner, Raphael Kunz and Valentin Lang feed their talents effortlessly into a concoction of grace, elegance and simple musical spirituality. Topping off the brilliance of their sound Michael Wiedemann contributes his baritone voice. This is where the comparisons will surely fall into place. Wiedemann’s voice is sure to stir the pot of easy association, even touching an almost Cash-like sound, but his ever present accent does more than simply make Matt Berninger feel insincere, it bleeds justification into his lyrics and transcends the style.

The many great tracks on the album are constructed around hints toward cinematic musical impact. Not such an obvious compilation of songs pouring their love for film, yet a subtle and effective ode and thanks to the power of music through an alternate medium. For instance, “One of the Quiet Boys” sings “Are you talking to me/You talking to me?/ Well I’m the only one here/Here in  my bathroom mirror.” While built around the centralized theme, songs like “Black, Casual” and my favorite “Secret Notes” will leave you in awe of what has been accomplished in only a debut album.

Though the album is a simple 41 minutes, the eleven tracks carry you away and take away all sense of time. Each song lives within its own personality and time, but confidently lends itself to the greater whole, with a big emphasis on “greater.”  I’ve struggled to convey more than just “wow,” the record, after just one listen, is easily one of the best I’ve heard in 2012. From the sharp edged to the simple ballad, CINEMA transcends a sound I had almost believed to be dead.

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