Release Date: 5th June 2020
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
For Fans Of: Man Overboard, Foxwarren, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Hit by the sudden deaths of his father and multiple close friends, Nik Bruzzese (better known as a member of Man Overboard) turned to music as an outlet to process his grief. What started as a collection of songs that were never even meant to see the light of day has evolved into a stunning debut EP from Bruzzese’s solo project, Casa Loma.
Despite the hard-hitting nature of the lyrical themes present throughout the 6-track EP, This Is Coping is an altogether heart-warming experience for the listener with a vibrant vocal performance etched over the shimmering, sweet dreampop sounds that express Casa Loma’s innermost emotions. The decision to release the EP as a solo artist rather than with Man Overboard just makes this record feel even more raw and personal.
For fans of Man Overboard, there is still a strong pop-punk influence throughout This Is Coping, particularly when it comes to the vocals. However, Casa Loma has infused this pop-punk influence with heavenly arrangements of acoustic guitar, piano and strings; the acoustic instruments giving a real sense of vulnerability that can’t be achieved with conventional pop-punk sounds. The deeply personal nature of the EP is evident in songs like ‘Olivia, Marley and the Duck Pond’ which is named after his children, and ‘Travelers’ which is about buying the house Nik grew up in, driven by his desire to hang on to the fondness of his past. From a purely musical perspective, Casa Loma offers up an incredibly rich sonic experience with ‘DP23’ and ‘All Alone Again’ presenting a soulful, spacious vocal that seems to float above the rest of the track.
The standout track from This Is Coping has to be ‘Famaglia’. Although the song itself is an elegant array of sounds and emotive performances, it is the comforting relatability in the lyrics that really makes the song special, as Nik explores his feelings over the loss of a close friend.
This Is Coping tackles some really tough issues of loss and grief, but the overriding sensation of hopefulness creates a reassuring feeling as opposed to it just becoming an overwhelmingly sad EP. This Is Coping almost feels like Casa Loma’s way of holding a listener’s hand and telling them everything will turn out fine. This is a truly beautiful debut EP that deserves nothing less than you putting your headphones on, closing your eyes and getting lost inside the mind of Casa Loma.
Rating – 9/10
Recommended Tracks – ‘Famaglia’, ‘Olivia, Marley and the Duck Pond’