Far Caspian : The Last Remaining Light

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Far Caspian The Last Remaining Light review

The opening track of Far Caspian’s sophomore album, The Last Remaining Light, “Answer” begins with a plunky, etude-like piano line and is met with a brassy, strumming guitar pattern. These instrumental choices evoke a constant mood that follows throughout the album. It’s a yearning for solitude, the constant aim to find a slice of quiet in a large city, and the ability to allow a blending of noises fade into the background. Joel Johnston, who has been creating and releasing music as Far Caspian since 2018, uses a small batch of instruments and his own vocals, all self-recorded and mixed, to curate a mellow collection of soft subtle rock tracks.

Behind the title track is a search for peace with life and the constant fragility of it. After a nightmare in which his mom passed away, Johnston wrote the hopeful track, adding, “I don’t want to shine a light on death in a miserable way but as I learn to make peace with it myself, I hope that if I touch on it in my songs, it can feel more like a natural rite of passage rather than something to fear.” Since being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, these thoughts of life rapidly changing and becoming challenging have also influenced Johnston’s compositions. “Pet Architect” is especially driven by his health struggles, put into words as Johnston sings, “How could I keep holding on? All the pain that’s felt, ends up in control.” 

While much of The Last Remaining Light carries Far Caspian’s previous sound of lush, subtle bedroom lulls, there are moments where Johnston branches out toward a cohesive rock tone, like on “Pool.” Here he maintains a heavier guitar tone, almost acting as the centerpiece over Johnston’s quiet vocals. On “Arbitrary Task” we see Johnston at his fastest and most frenetic, blending washed out layers of guitar and whirring vocals, a sort of expression of the inner workings of his mind amid the chaos. “Choice” acts as the median between these two new paces, sort of the come down from the clutter in Johnston’s mind. While his penchant for creating slow, soothing tracks provides comfort, the ability to blend a faster, harder style feels natural on this album that focuses on the push and pull of the ever-changing world.

Far Caspian has found a new place to grow on The Last Remaining Light. Whether it is a more carefully curated blend of melancholic strings or a considerate lyric ruminating on our sense of self, Johnston pushes himself past the familiar. There’s no sign of slump on his sophomore effort, which feels more like a rewarding trek, nodding toward the light and finding moments for reprieve and hope. It’s a collection of sweet, reflective tracks, one that shows all the places Far Caspian can still go.

Label: Tiny Library

Year: 2023

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