Ah, Coinstar Day. £21.47 redeemed from jean-pocket oblivion, all thanks to your charitable counting-machine friend. Know the feeling? Well, stand by: the improbable satisfaction that comes from just such little victories fills Johnno Casson’s delicate, quirky album, Window Shopping.
Colchester singer-songwriter Casson, armed with previous self-releases under the name Snippet, delights a growing internet fanbase with his take on pop-folk. His latest record blends heartfelt, acoustic odes with pinches of synth and lyrics centring on experiences of the everyday, delivered with a quietly humorous, affectionate slant.
‘Learn to love your battle scars,’ Casson advises in the chorus of the opener, a charming, gently-plucked whirl of guitar, keyboard and soft vocals. Followed by the genial ‘Everybody’s Got Sides’, a highly intimate track (and one of the strongest on Window Shopping), the album certainly leads from the front. Throughout the record Casson seems keen to stress that the amount of love needed in the world is increasing, but the amount being created is not keeping pace. Whilst the songs about family life (a tad twee) are less engaging than others, there is no doubt Casson is at all times genuine about himself and his work. This is clear in the album’s title track, a tender, Kinks-like celebration of the commonplace, driven by an observational style and easeful tone that you can’t help but smile along to.
‘Out of Credit’ sees a cameo from a female co-singer in a warm back-and-to number. ‘Love Vibration’, meanwhile, is a mellow, laid-back cut, melodiously touching the heartstrings. Casson’s female companion returns on ‘Forget It’, a song focusing on the building, and occasional tumbling down, of a relationship. ‘Whatever Happened to the Working Class?’ is not as political as its title suggests, but rather a lament for a kind of lost England. However, Casson is not so much wishing we were living in a time that never existed as he is hoping for the future, toeing the fine line between wistfulness and sentiment.
Taking its themes from the ordinary, Window Shopping is at times sweet and dreamy, and at others shifts to become a shade more serious. Arguably, things get more interesting when a touch darker or experimental. ‘Disguised as Love’ and closer ‘Truth’ fall into just such categories, lending the album further character.
As honest a collection of songs as you’ll ever find, and forged with a lot of love, Window Shopping represents another decent effort from a genuinely entertaining artist — the kind of man who, for the record, is not afraid to admit to operating out of a shed.
Release Date 08/10/2012