EP Review: Deal Casino – Nika

Phil Shepherd July 8, 2015 New Music, Reviews No Comments

Deal Casino

I have been a fan of Deal Casino since the first time I saw them back in late October. Their tireless work ethic has gained them many fans and have seen them branch out to NYC and Philly, receiving great reviews along the way.

They remain loyal to their adopted home base in Asbury Park and have established a residency at the Asbury Park Yacht club on Sunday nights for the summer. The latest EP, Nika, officially slated for July tenth release, is the fourth offering over the past 24 months for this quartet. Publishing the 4-5 song EP’s has allowed them to give us new music on a more frequent basis and has also allowed them to spread their studio time out, trying different things and improving their craft throughout each session.

Their live performances are always a sight to behold.  I have witnessed the growth of ¾ of the tracks on this release since their inception, so I was very excited to get Nika cued up and dig right into the final product.  What I found was an incredibly mature offering, beautiful in its simplicity yet heavy with intricate subtleties that give each track depth. Lead singer Joe Parella once again displays an incredible tonal range and the feeling he imparts in the lyrics allows us to be part of their world as if he was singing to each one of us individually.

Nika opens with “Halley”, an up tempo, full bodied tribute to a woman who seems to have it all. This is my favorite tune on the album as I think it represents their sound as I have come to know and love. Driving bass lines and drum beats, filled out with great interplay and accents from the guitars.

“Bare Hands”, the second track, highlights the purity of Nika for me. Filled with harmonies, empty spaces and breaks that supplement the vocals, distant sounding but always present guitars.  Listening to the words I would say that Halley is making things difficult for the guys in her life.

The third track “Red” is filled with influences from the late ‘60s. Driven by bass and toms, this is the one where the boys seem to be experimenting with a different direction as it is a fairly new style for them. Or perhaps they are giving tribute to the heroes of the era. I believe this was their most recent introduction to us in their live shows. Very proud of the finished product. Do not stop here!

Concluding the EP is a most wonderful composition entitled “Anything That’s Bad”. This one’s filled with emotion, walking through a back alley on a rainy night after breaking up with your significant other type of spooky. It is the song I knew the least about so also the song I had to listen to the most. This is the one song that gave me the chills as I was listening to it, and my second favorite on the EP. Really, really, nice.

The EP release party will be at Asbury Lanes on Friday July 10th. Deal Casino has arranged a great bill to party with them. It is an all ages affair so bring your kids if you got ‘em. My wife is bringing ours out so she can finally witness what her parents have been talking about and see the faces behind the sounds. Doors at 7, music starts at 7:30!

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