Animal lovers argue that pets are an important part of childhood. Not only does having a creature around the house help you build your emotional range, teach you to care for another and promote responsibility, it’s also one of the best ways to teach a youngster about death and the process of letting go. If you’re the sentimental sort and have been lucky enough to gop through life without having to say goodbye to anything even as personal as a GameBoy, you might want top think about getting yourself a poorly hamster sometime soon. Though Owen Ashworth himself is moving forward, his Casiotone for the Painfully Alone moniker is not.
For 13 years, Ashworth has been composing joyously awkward ditties about growing up, growing old and feeling astutely singular in a world that doesn’t care. Though never truly breaking the mainstream, it’s fair to say that his jaunty musings have been amongst the most influential and cult of the new millennium, a cult hero mastering sleeper hits. This autumn will see their last airing as a final round of tour dates see the songs written off as Owen searches for pastures new. The move isn’t as much of a shock as it might have been, given the movements the project has been making sonically in the past few years. The self-imposed lo-fi shackles have long since been abandoned, with latest album ‘Vs Children’ sounding almost Katy Perry-autotuned in comparison to 1999’s ‘Answering Machine Music’. The lyrics, though never the preposterous wallowing that is asymptomatic of emo music, have always been brutally honest, and being trapped in a cycle of playing songs about emotions long since outgrown became too much for the man mountain to deal with, especially given that Owen is now 33 – a full grown man by anyone’s terms.
The sorrow is not quite as great as it may have been, given there will almost certainly be other projects from Ashworth in the future, but in amongst the excitement and expectation there is bound to be so sadness at seeing old favourites carted off, confirming as it does that we are no longer as young as we once were. His final appearance in Manchester happens on November 5th – Bonfire night – something which seems fitting. Classics will be thrown onto the fire, not to be played in the city again, personal emotive favourites such as ‘Scattered Pearls’ and ‘White Corolla’ nought by a memory, but it will still be celebration of over a decade’s worth of seminal music, rather than the kind of wake that Ashworth may have written about back when Casiotone for the Painfully Alone was a solitary bedroom pursuit rather than an nationally renowned artist.
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – Young Shields [download from cftpa.org]
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – New Years Kiss (unreleased) [download from cftpa.org]