CASEY NEILL: Memory Against Forgetting: CD

Portland folk guy gone the way of New York, looks like. It’s a bummer; I know a few kids who’d seen this guy at local watering holes back in the day, just him and his geetar, and to this day they still swear by him. So I was a bit disappointed by this album; I was hoping for something more akin to the emotive clang and sweat of early Against Me! or Rumbleseat. Instead, we’ve got thirteen songs of highly polished, straight-up folk ballads, oftentimes with a full backing band. At times, the songs bear an uncanny resemblance to Pete Krebs, once Hazel crashed and burned. I mean, whether he’s playing traditional Irish immigrant songs or tunes of his own lamenting the deaths of heroin-overdosed crusty punks in Portland, it’s obvious that Neill’s politics are earnest and heartfelt; I just wanted to hear a record laden with a bit more blood and a little less bazouki.

 –keith (AK Press)