A compilation of great songs as wonderful as they may be, do not automatically amount to a meaningful listening experience. After all, not everything that may be pleasing to the ear is necessarily transforming, shaping, or challenging the listener. Of course, this is not to say that every piece of music must do this, but if it does, it is incredibly special. The Perfect Ending, the latest release from Cassels (Jim and Loz Beck), accomplishes this. Each of its nine tracks are not only enjoyable to listen to, but they guide the ear on nine completely different journeys. This, of course, is in no small part due to the level of variance that each track contains.
The experimentation and diversity in relation to (but certainly not limited to) tempo, lyrical themes, moments of lightness and intensity, and even nature soundscapes makes each track feel like a miniature album of its own – so much so that they often feel much longer than their three, four, or five minute durations. This gives The Perfect Ending a distinctive and almost indescribable sense of wholeness; it yields the potential to make the listener feel as if the music has happened to them. The Perfect Ending can certainly be enjoyed casually, but its richness makes it near impossible for the listener to not lose themselves in the journey the album unfurls.
The titular track exemplifies this sensation wonderfully. What begins with the tranquil sounds of chirping birds quickly and seamlessly evolves into a swell of thunder-like drumming heavy guitars, subsequently creating a distinct sense of limitlessness that makes it easy to visualize the song filling every last corner of a large stadium. “The Perfect Ending” is washed with the same underlying burn that made traditional grunge both heralded and hungered for in its more grandeur moments, but what is also of note is the ease of the transition between the burn of the track’s musical interludes and the quiet intensity that underscores the verses. This is a different kind of burn; the verses are something of simmering hot coals instead, with the fluorescent orange-red glow visible underneath. It is gentle yet mighty. Sharp, quick rhythms and light guitar strumming allow the track to maintain its energy and essence, while simultaneously being sonically striped back enough to allow the listener to fully digest one of the album’s most delectable offerings: the lyrics. In this case, they contain intriguing imagery. “The Perfect Ending” leads the ear on a voyage of power, delicacy, and extrospection.
There is much more that could be said about the album, but the greatest journeys are often those that are filled with delightful surprises and The Perfect Ending has plenty in store.