Such was the triumphant lunacy of The Retinal Circus’s London Roundhouse escapade that Devin Townsend’s other recent project didn’t get the attention it deserved when it originally surfaced via fan-funded means back in 2014.
Dev’s devoted audience will know all about it already, of course, but even they will be tempted by this official and expanded release. The original album itself remains a beautiful, serene but gently unsettling riverboat ride through waters both contemplative and emotionally fractious. Like Johnny Cash reimagined as a ghostly space cadet, songs like Daddy and Mountaintop shimmer elegantly, the sublime voice of Ché Aimee Dorval providing a perfect counterpoint to Devin’s own delicate croon. It’s a magical trip, but here it is bolstered by an entire disc of additional songs from the Casualties archive, the majority of which are every bit as spinetingling as their pre-eminent siblings.
But the real bonus here is the live DVD taken from the duo’s Union Chapel show in London, wherein a perfect setlist collided with a captivating atmosphere. In truth, Devin seems more at home here than he does surrounded by rubbery puppets and a cast of hundreds. If this is where his future lies, then so be it. Casualties Of Cool are a marvel.