Two Part Invention: The Boys are Back

A long time ago, in a basement far, far away . . . well, okay, so it wasn't that long ago (about eight years), and his basement is actually within walking distance to either Victory Boulevard or Richmond Avenue . . . but it does seem like it was in another time and place that Richie Castellano produced a CD of original music that was praised at that time by this writer as being a very imaginative, ambitious work created by a young man still in his teens. The review hinted at, with excited anticipation, the even greater musical achievements that lay ahead for this talented musician/songwriter/producer. And it shouldn't be forgotten that present on the periphery of that musical scene was an equally gifted, multi-instrumentalist named Andy Ascolese.

Fast forward eight years to the Christmas season of 2005: a gift has arrived - a gift that fulfills this writer's expectations - in the form of an energetically rocking batch of songs called Two-Part Invention - an aptly titled rock explosion by Castellano and Ascolese, a CD that not only power-pops, but also snaps and crackles with emotive performances, thickly layered arrangements, and ingratiating song structures.

Turn up the volume, to eleven or beyond. It's a bright, spirited fun-ride of grooves, varied and hook-happy, cleverly paying passing homage to a host of rock's torchbearers: The Beatles, Elvis Costello, Queen, Squeeze, Billy Joel, to name a few. Make no mistake: these infectious original tunes draw their inspiration from the past but they are no doubt fresh and new and now, reflecting the musical personas of Castellano and Ascolese.

Happily, history has repeated itself. Two-Part Invention rocks, clean and crisp and clever. Get it while it's hot, but leave room for the next course. There's undoubtedly more to come.

- Lamont Bridges
January 3, 2006