welcome back folks! this week we’re catching up with Video Age’s 2023 record, Away From the Castle.

Away From the Castle is a record suffused with a kind of melancholic ennui – this record feels like it should be played a twilight, at the end of an age.

part of that is the way Video Age makes music – Ross Farbe’s voice lifts lightly over some mellow and funky tracks across all of their albums, rarely shifting into dramatic or intense soundscapes, and when paired with more emotionally sadder tracks, thats the effect youre gonna get. most of Away From the Castle takes that perspective on decaying relationships, whether thats directly on tracks like Adrian or through the repeated house metaphors. those metaphors can be brief, like in How Long’s Eternity, or they can be the centerpiece of the track, like in opener Ready To Stay.

Ready To Stay REALLY nails that vibe right from the get go. the track runs light on synthier sounds, mostly relegating then to the background in the verses, letting the guitar and Farbe’s voice carry most of the weight. the choruses get a bit more lush, for sure, but MAN this song oozes melancholy, even as those choruses make it seem like a hazy summer afternoon. Adrian mourns a specific relationship, imploring the subject from a place where the message isnt going to reach the intended audience. In the Breaks feels like it should be sung in the round, haha. i think the little bit of fuzz put on the mix is a really neat touch too, and the hook here is pretty damn solid.

that’s not to say that there’s nothing upbeat and bright sounding on the record – Better Than Ever and Just Think are both musical descendants of Shadow on the Wall, and i had a great time jamming both tracks. Better Than Ever, in particular, is positive in both tone and subject. Just Think’s intro reminds me of Breezy Slide in a lot of fun ways. the title track, Away From the Castle, is a nice middle ground. the lil twang in the guitars and the waver in the held vocal notes are delightful little touches here, a track about trying to hold onto freedom and independence. How Long’s Eternity goes a bit brighter musically and a bit more existential lyrically.

i think the flow of the record here is functional, mostly – this feels like a lazy river ride for the majority of the runtime, which fits the subject matter for me. i kinda dig A Knight Shining With No Armor as a transitional song – it medleys some of the other tracks and transitions into Is It Really Over? a song that feels like thr big conclusion of the record, leaving Golden Sun as a fun lil bonus.

faves – Better Than Ever, Away From the Castle, Just Think
dislikes –

Away From the Castle – 7/10

next week we’ll be catching up on Green Day’s newest release, Savior

first: Living Alone | previous: Pleasure Line | next: who knows!

all my reviews for Video Age