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Casino - 1992 Casino



ARTIST: Casino
ALBUM: Casino
LABEL: Si Music
SERIAL: Simply 15
YEAR: 1992
CD REISSUE: 1997, Verglas, VGCD008

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Vocals - Geoff Mann * Keyboards - Clive Nolan, Mike Stobbie * Guitar - Karl Groom, Sylvain Gouvermaire * Bass - Jon Jeary * Drums - Brian Devoil, Paul Flynn

TRACK LISTING: 01 Prey * 02 Crap Game * 03 Drunk * 04 Crying Onto Baize * 05 Stranger * 06 Beyond That Door


Background
The one-and-only release by Casino is notable for two things - being the only concept album I know that's set in a casino (an odd one, I know, but stick with it) and the musicians involved. Geoff Mann (RIP) and Brian Devoil were members of the great Twelfth Night, Jon Jeary and Karl Groom are core members of Threshold (the latter also with Shadowland with Clive Nolan), Mike Stobbie with Pallas, Sylvain with Iris (a project also involving Marillion members) and Clive, of course, has his regular gig with Pendragon. Phew! That aside, what of the music?


The Songs
The opening number, 'Prey' is huge, with a Pendragon-esque intro, followed by picky rhythmic guitar-work, reminiscent of The Edge from U2's earlier outings.Geoff Mann utilises his unmistakable vocal style here (as he does throughout), creating haunting atmospheres akin to his glory days with Twelfth Night. The mid-section features a spot-on guitar solo from Sylvain, with lots of vibrato. Very nice! Around the 8 minute mark, with the main part of the song over, a conversation is overheard (concept albums - don't you just love them) between two people - one of whom collapses. The casino begins to take its toll. 'Crap Game' is resplendent with techy keys and very 80's in feel, not too far removed from the later work by Pallas (circa 'The Wedge'). Overall, it's arrangement is simpler than 'Prey' and Geoff Mann's performance is one of his finest. His voice blends with the mechanical feel of the keys, creating a great unease. Then, the casino takes another victim as we follow a drunk who's lost all his money ('Drunk'). From jazzy beginnings, this piece sees Geoff singing in the highest key possible (a la the opening of Twelfth Night's classic album 'Fact & Fiction' from '83) followed by spoken word interlude (like 'Creepshow', also 'Fact & Fiction') and another excellent Steve Hackett inspired solo from Sylvain. It closes with a more up-beat feel - still sounding very 80's to my ears - and another top solo, this time played by Karl (I think). The album's centrepiece, 'Crying Onto Baize', opens with Geoff in his typical melancholy style, accompanied by soft keys. The band as a whole then get a chance to really shine - a three minute instrumental passage highly reminiscent of the great Pendragon, before returning to Geoff for a brief interlude. The track closes with a more up-beat feel, with great use of 'stabbing' keyboards. 'Stranger', by contrast, is an almost conventional rock song, with a basic time signature. Sadly, its not a great song - probably best avoided - but, hey, how many albums are perfect? Closing number, 'Beyond That Door', clocks in at over ten minutes. The intro is three minutes of spoken word, with Geoff posing as casino management, before Karl Groom comes in with what is probably the hardest edged riff on the album - a solid groove, not too complex. Very effective.


In Summary
At the tail end of the album, a conversation between the casino bouncers can be heard, one suggesting that he might go and have a gamble himself.. proving that although the casino may have made financial casualties of the main characters here, those on the outside are still not affected and the lure of the casino is always strong. As concept albums go, it's pretty hard going, but the musicianship is fantastic and there's not a deaf, dumb and blind kid to be seen anywhere. A 'must have' if you're into any of the musicians involved.


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Tags: Casino 
 
Comments
#1 | trillion1999 on October 24 2011 16:29:39
I love Crying onto Baize.One of the CDs bought from the 100 dollars for each CD-guy that I will not offload.Is there anything added to the reissue I wonder?
#2 | gdazegod on July 13 2012 07:36:12
Not that I'm aware of. All reissues have the same track listing with no bonus tracks.
 
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