When I heard Finetime for the first time back in 1995, I jumped out of my skin and got the same excitement and anticipation for the release of Cast’s debut album as I’d had with other contemporaries of the day; Oasis, Bluetones, Supergrass, Charlatans (yes, the Britpop era) . Upon the news of the re-release, the old feelings came back. The art of song writing was a big talking point back in the day and already I was expecting an album of good chord structures, melodic guitar, meaningful lyrics and huge energy. It didn’t disappoint.

For me, John Power’s song writing abilities matched those of a certain Mancunian from another popular and great beat-combo of the day. If Power was writing his own tunes during 1990, and/or if Lee Mavers had entertained his ideas (I’m only speculating, we may never know), then The La’s legacy may be even huger. Post-La’s, Power felt there was unfinished business and formed Cast, and as a result produced an album which still appears in many magazines ‘Greatest Album’ polls.

Keith O’Neill’s drumming is the major provider of continuous flow of enthusiasm throughout the whole album, even during the slower numbers. Skin’s guitar playing fits each and every one of Power’s songs like a glove, from the experimentation of overlaying psychedelic melodies in Promised Land and History, through the catchier riffs of Fine Time and Back Of My Mind, right through to the simple but effective acoustic picking on Walkaway and Four Walls. Pete Wilkinson’s bass playing just simply does the job but his backing vocals provide great harmony at the right times.

As for John Power, some of his lyrics are legendary. He likes to philosophise (‘I got control but I ain’t got command’ – Tell It Like It Is), reflect (Walkaway in entirety), inspire (‘We’re gonna buy before we get sold, gonna make new what is old’ - Promised Land) and mix it with some no-nonsense scouse (‘man it’s as simple as that’ – Back Of My Mind). He’s very literate and visionary but still sharp and straight to the point. All of them expressed and sang in a meaningful Scouse accent. Imagine if Noddy Holder sang in Scouse, that’s how good Power’s voice is.

As this is a ‘Deluxe’ edition of the album, we are treated to extras such as the single ‘Flying’, released between All Change and Mother Nature Calls. Also we have extra tracks that didn’t make the album, which much have been a tough choice for the band at time of compiling it. They obviously made the right choices, but Better Man and Meet Me could have easily made the list also. We also have un-released demo’s of John Power sounding like he’s sitting in his room at the end of his bed on ‘Who You Gonna Ask?’ (what would this sound like if recorded professionally?) You can see the ambition and vision in the band demos of Fine Time and History, which was more than achieved in abundance in their final takes. The live tracks capture their enthusiasm, which transpired to their fans.

Overall All Change is an uplifting and inspiring album that still excites me 15 years on. I’m delighted it’s being re-released, gaining the attention and new fans they deserve. I can’t wait for the reunion gigs commemorating the 15 year anniversary of its release. Many fans like me will be happy to relive an exciting part of our youth that Cast were a part of, especially in the ‘homecoming’ Liverpool shows. Another four scouse lads that will ‘shake the world’ yet again at second time of asking.

Cast released the All Change ‘deluxe edition’ on Mon 25th October on the UMC label and are playing such album, plus other classics (and hopefully new songs), on tour from Mon 22nd November. See [link] for more details and to download great new track ‘Bad Waters’.

Also recently John Power was happy to answer some of our questions at Glasswerk: [link]

Released: Mon 1st Nov 2010