I first heard of Neal Casal from his touring with Ryan Adams as a guitarist in the Cardinals, and his music definitely fits the same vein as Ryan's - it could be called Americana, new-folk, or even straight rock at times. Yet regardless of what you call it, this is a very good album.
It is what you would expect from a top-rate singer-songwriter. Neal's voice is a little different, sometimes reminiscent of Rufus Wainwright. His sense of melody is brilliant, and some of these songs will get stuck in your head for sure ('Sleeping Pills in Stereo', for example).
There is a fairly wide variety of songs on this album, from slower acoustic-driven numbers like 'Lost Satellite', to rockier tracks like 'Sleeping Pills in Stereo'. The moods shift with the songs, from melancholy to summer-sounding songs with hooks that wouldn't be out of place on a Beach Boys album.
My personal favourites are 'Lost Satellite', 'Grand Island' and the beautiful piano-driven 'Freeway to the Canyon' (one of my favourite songs of the past year). The album isn't without fault; I am not too fond of the 'House of the Rising Sun'-esque 'Remember What It's Like', but on the whole the lyrics are good (though not ground-breaking) and the songs are well-crafted. Neal deserves more recognition than he gets and I can't wait to see what he does next.
This album deserves 4.5/5, but since I can't give half stars I've rounded it up to 5. If you're a fan of Ryan Adams, or just interested in good singer-songwriters then check this album out.