The Casket Lottery - Smoke and Mirrors (Cover Artwork)

The Casket Lottery

The Casket Lottery: Smoke and MirrorsSmoke and Mirrors (2004)
Second Nature Recordings

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: AubinAubin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It's very unfortunate that this review of the most recent Casket Lottery EP Smoke and Mirrors might also have to be a eulogy. After a series of full length critical accomplishments in the form of Choose Bronze, Moving Mountains and Survival is for Cowards, and collaborative splits with the .
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It's very unfortunate that this review of the most recent Casket Lottery EP Smoke and Mirrors might also have to be a eulogy.

After a series of full length critical accomplishments in the form of Choose Bronze, Moving Mountains and Survival is for Cowards, and collaborative splits with the likes of Small Brown Bike (their version of "Under Pressure" is probably the most progressive yet faithful cover I can recall) the band plans to retire and will leave us without their synthesis of melodic emotional rock and unconventional songwriting. The band has already hinted that their recent tour will be their last, and considering how much I love this band, that makes this incredible EP all the more bittersweet.

A mere four songs spanning less than twenty minutes, in most hands, this would be a teaser. But thanks to the accomplished abilities of Ellis and Hilt - both formerly of Coalesce -it comes across as more epic than any twenty minute disc could have been. The opener, "Come Sweet Revenge" definitely works from the "sound" the band has pioneered since Choose Bronze, but has some of the most powerful vocal delivery yet. The second track however, is arguably one of the best songs the band has ever written. Though the ringing guitars brought me back to the first track from Moving Mountains, "On the Air" takes the sound to the most accessible and creative peaks the band has reached. A lyrical indictment of souless mainstream music should be trite coming from any other independent band but is handled with such delicate and deliberate emotion, not to mention the irony of such an accessible track discussing the topic.

The following two tracks don't quite reach the fevered peaks of "On the Air", but instead move into completely different directions. The first of the two beginning with ambient echos and then drawing back to the earliest recordings of the band. The final track begins sounding like the Get Up Kids, but then moves into uncharted territory, a nice surprise from a band that was able to deliver them consistently throughout their career.

Far too many people have missed the Casket Lottery while they were still recording, and we can only hope that the band continues in the pattern of their previous band and spends the next five years getting back together again and again. But in the meantime, we're left with a rich history; music that is both angular and melodic, compositions so complex and aggressive yet emotional and soothing. If this is the last we hear from the Casket Lottery, then they've certainly left on top.


People who liked this also liked:
Refused - The Shape of Punk to ComeEnvy - Insomniac DozeEnvy - A Dead Sinking StoryIsis - PanopticonDillinger Escape Plan - Miss MachineCoalesce - Give Them Rope She Said v2.0Blink-182 - Dude RanchDescendents - Cool To Be YouCave In - JupiterDrive Like Jehu - Yank Crime

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
letskissthesky10 (April 3, 2005)

best casket lottery release to date

Anonymous (December 28, 2004)

this band sounds like sunny day real estate.

Anonymous (August 19, 2004)

Wonderful album. I e-mailed them and they said they don't know what's going to happen. So I guess it's safe to say there is still hope. But who knows.

It's really pure luck that I found out about these guys... and I"m so glad I did. I couldn't sleep one night so I turned on college radio and heard Code Red. I was hooked since then. The song was played at 3 am. But wow, it was worth that sleepless night just to find out about these guys. I love this cd.

Anonymous (June 29, 2004)

BSD you are right, hippie garbage

Icapped2pac (June 28, 2004)

"about his time" = about it this time

Score is now for proofreading.

Icapped2pac (June 28, 2004)

"Punknews reported that this band had broken up before over a year ago and you guys were wrong."

I heard it straight from Nate's mouth at a show, dude, so ease up. I hope you're right about his time, though, because these guys are so underrated it's fucking sick. And this EP is the perfect example. First off, I fucking hate EPs and most of the time refuse to buy them, since they're always overpriced. But I respect these guys too much to just download it, so after paying $11 (Including s&h) for it, the mere 4 songs on this disc made it more than worth the price. If any one of these songs were on any other their full lengths, they would all be at least the 2nd-3rd best on the album. And yes, "On the Air" may be the best song they've ever done. It gets stuck in your head, but unlike most songs that get stuck in mine, it won't make you want to jam broken shards of glass up your nose.

Don't bother labeling these guys as "emo" either. They may have a similar sound to some "emo" bands, but it would just be wrong to lump them in with that group. They're way more sincere than most bands of any genre. So give this a chance or fuck off.

Anonymous (June 28, 2004)

There needs to be another Ramones that destroys these bands.


Anonymous (June 28, 2004)

this album is one of the best follow up ep's to a line of full lengths, ep's, etc. as a 3-piece, they cover far too much ground than 3 musicians are expected to. amazing band, hopefully they choose to continue what they have.

Anonymous (June 27, 2004)

Great ep. Kind of reminds me of Porcupine Tree and Cave In at times, but with more emo. I hope they don't break up, a full length of this caliber would be their best release yet.

Anonymous (June 26, 2004)

this band is so good it is pretty sad and incredible that they aren't more well known. Survival is for Cowards and that SBB split are both top notch records.

i'm definitly going to have to pick this one up.

sloppyblake (June 26, 2004)

one of the best cds i will ever own.

GYBE (June 25, 2004)

I really enjoy this band. Such a shame they're fairly unknown. "Code Red" remains one of my favourite songs of all time.

Anonymous (June 25, 2004)

Punknews reported that this band had broken up before over a year ago and you guys were wrong. I read that blog a while ago and when i read it I interperated it as this was to be thier last tour for 2004. They havent toured extensively for the past couple of years. The last time I saw them play i thought they said this EP was to support an upcoming full length. I could be wrong about that, that was last summer. Are you really sure they are breaking up??

Anonymous (June 25, 2004)

a casket lottery/honor system split?!?!?! WHAT?!?!

Anonymous (June 25, 2004)

on the air is a great song.

Anonymous (June 25, 2004)

Weren't these guys supposed to do a split with The Honor System? I wonder what happened to that. That would've been awesome.

inagreendase (June 25, 2004)

It's pretty good based upon a few listens.

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