They say first impressions are everything. That, within a specified period of time one creates an opinion of whatever it is attempting said impression.
This doesn’t apply to music. This cannot apply to music.
More specifically, it cannot apply to Elle Casazza.
Those new to her sound, this is not the first release from the well-versed Chicago based singer. However, Proof is the perfect first impression if you’re looking for one.
I wouldn’t be one to call her retro because her sound skirts a fresh livelihood that isn’t gin-soaked jazz basement crooning, but the swinging vibes of yesteryear are worn proudly on each of these nine songs.
Cards-on-the-table, Proof began to feel all too clean to me. “Hey” strikes up clap-happy energy that is a little too kind for what I would expect. Clean lines and bright lights are the apparent modus operandi that get things moving. It is as if we’re drawn into an art deco dance club where everyone is wearing pin-stripes. But then, almost imperceptibly, things begin to shift and take flight. The core of Casazza’s presence in Proof is a matured awareness with a dynamic delivery that swells as the album progresses. Soon, in and around the swaggered “Cooking” and the reflective “I Listed,” the sound begins to settle into a more definitive proclamation. One that sets this singer apart. She begins to wear her voice more prominently, without the flash and to-do. B-Sided heavy when it comes to what really lasts, Proof drops a bombshell of a record as it comes to a close. It is as if it is a prohibition history lesson. On the outset it is above board and everything is just dandy, but deep down there are hidden compartments and ideals that align less about what the man wants and more about what is at heart. And like a successful whiskey run, Elle Casazza’s Proof leaves a sweet and memorable taste on the palette.
If you make a knee-jerk reaction to Elle Casazza’s Proof you may come to regret a missed opportunity to really appreciate a fine piece of work. This isn’t my first spin on a Casazza release and, considering the wave that was this latest release, I can’t help but believe we are about one release from seeing her name in the lights. It isn’t going to happen with Proof, but that is no fault of the album and certainly not a detractor from such a splendid artist. It is simply that we ain’t seen nothin yet.
Greg is a co-founder and regular contributor to Nanobot Rock. Although he appreciates a good whiskey, he does not support illegal whiskey runs (…if you’re caught).