Casual Listener

Sometimes the best stuff is off the cuff. The sentiment’s been proven most recently by newcomers Future States. The Canadian psychedelic pop-makers took full advantage of long empty hours at a church in Ontario to make a debut that’s both spontaneous and finished: songs built on pop intentions, brought to life with improvised melodic banter. On first listen, Casual Listener feels straightforward and simple, but a deeper examination reveals the most delicate paper-thin layers of subtle samples or rickety organ that give the songs a modest body. There’s a lo-fi 1960s-rock feel reminiscent of a more downtrodden Dr. Dog (“Lulu”), mixed with the sharper edge of fellow Canuck Nicholas Thorburn’s earlier Islands work, specifically in the dry vocal delivery of songs like “Apostolic.” The downside of improvising is walking a tightrope of fresh and meandering, and there are a few moments when the album starts to tip toward the latter, but for the most part it’s a nice and melancholy listen, suited to its title.