[sic] Magazine

Oddfellow’s Casino – Dust

Oddfellow’s Casino may be a name which is new to many of you, but they’ve actually been releasing records for some 14 years. I first ‘discovered’ them supporting someone or other at the Manchester Academy in 2011 around the time of the release of their third album The Raven’s Empire. The fact that I remember more about them than the main act is that they delivered a surprisingly strong performance. Their music will almost certainly appeal to fans of Elbow, The Declining Winter and Epic45.

Dust is actually a compilation of tracks originally intended for the last couple of albums, combined with reworked versions of older tracks and also several cover versions. The entire album’s a fairly loose, stripped-back affair where the volume is rarely going to trouble your speakers, but it’s also a haunting, revealing listen. Strings which form the centrepiece of “The Bend at Coneyhurst Gil”, for instance, add a gorgeous edge, and similarly the piano and backwards guitar that punctuate “Don’t Let The Cold In” add a reflective dimension to a track which could almost play during the closing credits of an old black and white movie.

There’s an overriding sadness underlining many of the tracks. Even cover version “Mir” (originally written by Brighton band Chimp), which masquerades itself as a pop track, simply pulls at your heartstrings. It’s a track which contains all the hallmarks of a great pastoral pop song, but with extra ‘heartache dust’ sprinkled on for good measure.

“100,000 Fireflies” (originally by Magnetic Fields) is what Death Cab For Cutie might sound like if they holed up at a farmhouse in the English countryside, drank lots of scrumpy and replaced their guitars with Bontempi keyboards. It’s how great pop music should be written. In a word, sublime.

Elsewhere, there’s an edited version of standout track “We Will Be Here”, originally from the aforementioned The Raven’s Empire – which sounds as good today as I remember it from five years ago. “Wild Waters” is also an absorbing listen – a very “English” song which benefits from the female harmonies.

With Dust, Oddfellow’s Casino have delivered a thoughtful, intelligent record which deserves to bring a new generation of listeners on board.