“Honed in real deep.”
This is what Castle of Genre drummer, Anthony Crawford, had to say (albeit, with a tongue-in-cheek tonality), for the writing of the Richmond band’s newest release, No Trick/Chanel, which dropped today. As cheeky as his quip may be, he’s not wrong. This release, named for the two tracks of which it is composed, is a brief culmination of the indie-pop band’s best parts, earnestly constructed to do no more or less than it needs to.
In addition to Crawford, Castle of Genre consists of Brandon Iqbal (vocals/guitar), Joey Fall (vocals/guitar), and Pat Stolte (bass). The four have made music together since high school, and that history is apparent in the chemistry these songs exhibit.
“We all know what we want, and what we like, and how we’re different from each other,” said Fall. “So, I think it makes the collaborative process a little easier for me.”
On “No Trick,” Fall’s vocals abruptly cut in, auto-tuned into a chordal melody, eliciting all the sincerity of a natural voice, while settling in the mix as another instrument in the ensemble. A Cyborg with real big feels. Brandon’s voice, higher in register and raw, compliments perfectly.
If these two golden pipes weren’t enough, Ali Mislowsky of the Richmond act, Big Baby, features on the track, contrasting with the song’s heaviest instrumentation, chaotic and crashing around Mislowsky’s calm, definitive, resonance.
The guitar work in this song is captivating, notably during a post-chorus interlude in which the delay peppered melody chimes aloft in the mix.
“For me, it felt like we were getting more into structure. [These songs] feel really thought out,” said Fall.
No Trick/Chanel was recorded and mixed by Brandon Iqbal and mastered by Dan Coutant at Sunroom Audio. The EP is a followup to the band’s 2016 release, Trance.
What really stands out in the structure of these songs is Castle of Genre’s use of space as an aesthetic device. “Chanel’s” choppy, punctual rhythms are a staple of the Castle of Genre sound, but are refined in a way that emphasizes the attention to detail put into writing the song.
“I think we started to think more about the melodies we used,” said Iqbal. “There’s times when me and [Fall] would record scratch vocals with no words and just be like ‘do we like those melodies?’”
“For the longest time we talked like ‘I can’t wait to make this song,’ or ‘I can’t wait to make a song that sounds like this,’ or ‘I love this new record from whoever, I can’t wait to write a song like that,’” said Fall. “We’re making the music we want to make,” Iqbal surmises (you can tell these guys are in sync). “Right, like it’s going beyond the capability of what we thought we could do.”
As for what’s next, Iqbal said the group is writing about five or six songs for another EP.
In the meantime, you can catch Castle of Genre Halloween night in Richmond playing at a house show with Secret Stuff, Save Face, and fellow Richmond band Young Scum. $5 cover. Details here. the band will be playing Fri., November 11 at Hardywood with Private Cry and TWIN DRUGS.