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Casualties of Cool – Casualties of Cool – 7.75/10

– The first of 3 albums released by Devin Townsend this year. This one is a collaboration with a singer named Ché Aimee Dorval, whom he had previously worked on the album Ki with. He continues to explore the boundaries of music by releasing a style of music that he had previously never released before. The music is focused on country, western, blues, rockabilly, and styles like that, but down in an atmospheric and spacious way like his albums Ki and Ghost. This makes it an extremely unique album, and one that I found myself having to be in a very specific mood to listen to. If I wasn’t in that mood, it was just too different and I didn’t get it. But if I was in that mood, it was perfect. It could fulfill my musical tastes in a way that no other album good. Vocally, Townsend takes a backseat and provides more of the airy and background vocals, while Ché’s voice really expands and shines throughout. But it’s Townsend guitar playing that shows off as we hear beautiful reverb and delay on a nice full tone, comping on bluesy riffs and chords that have the right amount of pop to them. We also get to hear him do beautiful blues licks and leads that we never get to hear him do before, and realize how great a guitar player he is. Other highlights is the saxophone playing by Jorgen of Shining on the song “Moon” and the full choir on the song “The Bridge” which provides the album with its “heaviest” and loudest moments. The album has a wonderful story that goes along with it, and in typical Devin fashion, the music choices with the story provide a very strange but beautiful experience throughout.