Album: Where I Go When I Am Sleeping
Where I Go When I Am Sleeping is a personal album—one that wastes no time in sharing countless personal details about Casey’s frontman, Tom Weaver, so, I feel as though it’s only fitting to share a little something about myself to kick this article off. I happen to be (at the time of writing this) a second year medical student. In months I’ll be entering a hospital and bumbling my way through some sad attempt to pretend that I know what the Hell I’m going to try and make people’s lives better.
Don’t freak out yet, I won’t be totally alone—not for a few years at least—because I’m still a student, which means I’m still learning, and one of the things we learn a lot about is the patient-physician relationship. We learn about our duty to do no harm, to serve and save, but we don’t learn what it’s truly like to be the patient. There’s not really a way to do that, short of being in those positions yourself—or by listening to Where I Go When I Am Sleeping. Spending less time on dealing with Weaver’s romantic endeavors and more with his experiences dealing with more than his fair share of medical misfortune, Where I Go When I Am Sleeping see Casey getting personal and emotional in a much different way than their critically acclaimed debut effort. The band’s 2018 release provides an insight to pain unlike anything else; and while it may not totally be the experience the listener expects, it’s one that is totally unique and displays frailty in its most pure form—in short, I firmly believe that this record should be one that everyone listens to, but especially those embarking into a medical or healthcare profession.
Where I Go When I Am Sleeping isn’t as headstrong and energetic as some efforts by Casey’s emotionally-driven melodic hardcore peers—and that’s perfectly okay. Where I Go When I Am Sleeping is a somber and introspective album on all fronts, with every twist and turn taken by the dazzling, emotive musicianship perfectly mirroring the lyrical themes that make the release so poignant. Percussionist Max Nicolai is perhaps the most frantic element the band has to offer—constantly busy behind the kit, even when the remainder of the group are still and somber. The album’s titular track is an excellent example of this, where Nicolai adds fills and fervor into the mix in ways the listener might not expect. Likewise, he keeps “Phosphenes” moving along with a steady clip, beating with a measure of arrhythmia that stands out, giving each song an extra element that further delineates Casey from other bands that simply aren’t Casey. Likewise, bassist Adam Smith works with NIcolai, adding density to the more ethereal parts of Where I Go When I Am Sleeping, especially during the aforementioned “Phosphenes,” and during more ferocious tracks like “The Funeral” or “Wavering.” Whether it’s a more mellow number or one that keeps the listener’s head moving and heart racing, Smith and Nicolai are a great duo, filled out by the dynamism provided by guitarists Liam Torrence and Toby Evans. Torrence and Evans give the release that whimsical, curious oscillation between anxiety, energy and nervousness (“Wavering,” and the pummeling intensity of “The Funeral”) and brooding, somber introspection (“Phosphenes,” and the minimalist—save Nicolai—title track). They might not be stupidly heavy, nor are they technical, but they play with their entire essence, giving Weaver the perfect canvas upon which to carve his story.
Not to belittle the efforts (outstanding efforts, might I add) of Casey’s instrumentalists, but much of Where I Go When I Am Sleeping is designed to be a canvas for the story told by Weaver. Unwavering (except where the emotion overcomes him, and by virtue, the listener), Weaver tells the story of his struggle—this time not with love lost, strictly—but with his own mental, physical and emotional health. From the very first lines of “Making Weight,” through “Phosphenes” and “Needlework,” all the way to the last seconds of the album, Weaver’s constant war with the adverse effects of antidepressant medications like Fluoxetine, complications of his own brittle bone disorder and others serve as the foundation for this record—and that’s part of the reason it strikes at the listener’s essence so unusually. It isn’t just another record about failed romance, heartbreak—it’s deeper; it strikes at pure human frailty; the sort of weakness that you don’t instill upon yourself but, rather, the kind you’re born with and have to bear on your own. Weaver uses a beautiful singing voice and gritty, raw and unfiltered screams to use his voice the best way he possibly can, delivering honesty to his own experience and opening up to the world at large without any filter.
Where I Go When I Am Sleeping is remarkable. There is hardly—if at all—a record that captures the same feeling and message. While, as both a writer and a lyricist in a band with a reputation for downtrodden lyricism, somber songwriting is easy to come by, it’s damn hard to perfect, and that’s something Casey did here without a single misstep. Ambient in many places just as aggressive as it is in others and defined by pure excellence both vocally and lyrically, Casey’s 2018 full length record is something everyone of every walk of life should steep themselves in.
For Fans Of: La Dispute, Touche Amore, Defeater, Pianos Become the Teeth
By: Connor Welsh