by Mark Anthony Brennan
Release Date: August 10th, 2014
Label: Label Fantastic
Tyson Brinacombe may have once recorded under the moniker ‘Tyson and His Game Boy’ and, yes, this album may be called ‘Casio Fiasco’, but I still wouldn’t exactly call this chiptune. For one thing, the rhythms and beats here sound organic (for the most part). Second of all, the keyboards don’t sound as cheesy as most 8-bit noodling does. And finally, what takes centre stage here, regardless of the backing music, is the singer and his songs — and this is an impressive set of songs.
Things kick off with “Wrong Crowd”, a swinging rock number featuring nifty guitar work and some vaguely psychedelic harmonizing vocals (by none other than Brinacombe himself, of course). Once you get into the dreamy groove of the next track, “Fish Out of Water”, you begin to realize that you are on a kaleidoscope ride through a dizzying array of different musical styles. “Feel It Coming” is swirling electropop, “It’s You” has more of a Caribbean rhythm, “New Scene” is bass-dominated, and so on. It never ends — ‘Casio Fiasco’ is a veritable funhouse of delights. Each song is solid, there is no filler.
Although one of my favourites is the instrumental “Rabbit Marsh”, Brinacombe is actually an accomplished lyricist in addition to being an ingenious musician. On the forlorn “Think of You Tonight” he comes out with this heartfelt line, “The city lights shine down on me like stars/Peering through my skin into my scars”; and then on “Fish Out of Water” he utters this delightful couplet, “You had the charisma of a super villain/The vocal prowess of a drunken Bob Dylan”. Chiptune album indeed!
I doubt that ‘Casio Fiasco’ will get the accolades of, say, Mac DeMarco’s ‘Salad Days’, but it certainly deserves to.