NJ’s favorite goth-pop rockers, Whiner, bring their best to the table with a sophomore release, Peace Out Cruel World, an album that seems to garner inspiration from Pink Floyd’s song “Goodbye Cruel World” on their 1982 album, The Wall. Together with Cameron J. Castan on vocals, Christian “Boon” Castan on guitar, Johnny Dynamite on explosive drums, Bridget Bakie slapping bass, and Henry Heissenbuttel on keys and production, the quintet creates an infectious eight-track album you’ll keep on repeat.
Kicking it off with “Sleeping Pills,” Whiner introduces the grunge of the album. While this track initially creates space, it then fills it with the dark angst of the narrative, with a buoyant beat and C.J. Castan wailing, “if ya wanna take some sleeping pills/ do it all for the cheap thrills...”
Melting in from the previous track, “Sweeter,” is not exactly what the name suggests. With fog and distant vocals, this track feels as if you’ve been transported to the belly of the beast of The Meatlocker (jersey kids, you know the vibe). The third of the release, “Fear,” is perfectly juxtaposed with the rest of the gloom of the album. This song is flawlessly completed with throbbing bass, club beats, and screaming guitar.
Now by the sixth track, “Varicose Veins,” if you’re listening straight through, you begin to embody the heavy emotions of the album. This one is full-bodied with a pulsating flute sound and an explosive build-up. It also allows frontman C.J. Castan to showcase his vocal range from the deep grit of his lower range to the higher pitches in lyrics, “...out to play.” Whiner also released a stunning, thought-provoking music video directed by Jacob Kessler following the protagonist of the video walking through grimy streets naked and barefoot illustrating vulnerability and feeling directionless.
“Baseball Bat” is the most pop-punk track on the record while still keeping the agony in the vocals and truly a home run. Whiner finishes up with “Burn,” a track with minimal production and clear vocals with the bittersweet message, “they wanna see me burn out.”
LONG STORY SHORT: Whiner is an impressively talented group creating ominous yet infectious tracks. Whiner perfectly encapsulates an entire mood within Peace Out Cruel World. By the end, you’ll want to say peace out cruel world, too.
Stream Peace Out Cruel World Below!