Melbourne songsmith Josh Cashman has delivered an album that is both fully realised in consistent artistic tone and teeming with groovy, sunlit tunes. Having released music for years its a wonder why Cashman has only now released his debut - but we're glad he did.
Now I’m Twenty-Five may serve as an oft sad and ruminating archive of Cashman’s life thus far, but so thorough is the lush warmth of his melodies, that the cracks formed in your heart from his authenticity are spackled and sealed every three minutes. As Cashman describes, "sublime guitars, swimming behind some washed soulful vocals and atmospheric grooves - a summertime daydream".
Introducing the flavour of the album is the lively breeze of a tune ‘Melbourne Weather’, a thrumming number in which Cashman facetiously compares the uncertainty of his ever changing plans to a certain city’s notoriously unpredictable weather patterns. Right off the bat we are shown Cashman's clever technique of disguising melancholic lyrics within woozy summery refrains.
Titular single ‘Twenty Five’ nears the classic quarter-life crisis and its lament on time and aging. Except, interestingly, this is a lament on lamenting. The fast paced monologue on events and changes that have occurred in his twenty-five years and his fears, swiftly undone by the simple realisation that all the worrying is a bit pointless.
"All of this time I’ve wasted getting high on who I thought I’d be at Twenty-Five / And now I’m Twenty-Five."
"For me, it’s an honest reflection of coming of age. So much time has passed by, so quickly and it’s almost like an all of a sudden, 'holy shit I’m kind of supposed to be an adult right?'” laments Cashman.
‘When a Friend Becomes a Lover’ uses deep swinging bass to produce a rocking ode to the dangerous game; fanning the flames of a friendship friction into something a bit more. ‘Money’ is a blurry six minute track of Cashman’s disenfranchisement with the “rat race”, the layered instrumentals haunted with the occasional ghostly whisper of the title– perhaps a comment on its ever looming presence in our psyches. Though why an Australian is singing of “spending dimes” I’m unsure, but I suppose "spending 10 cent coins" is less catchy.
‘Colourful You’ and ‘Summertime Daydream’ take a turn for the charming – light hearted tracks, which gentle rolling melodies flower into shimmering dreamy soundscapes (with the occasional tropical island bongo). A satisfying little ditty comes in the form of single ‘Law of Attraction’, a tale of two people’s magnetic pull to each other and the push and pull of chemistry aligned in a fundamental way.
Next comes a remaster of 2019 single ‘Colour/Fade’. Here is where the happiness of Cashman's romantic life seems to cease in a sprawling anthem of love gone stale. The rich twang and stapling chorus of 'Colour/Fade' is very Ocean Alley-esque and a personal favourite on the album.
Potential B-side alternative to Ball Park Music’s ‘She Only Loves Me When I’m There’ is ‘She Only Wants Me When I’m Gone’, the stark lyrics detailing a relationship reduced to the physical – they only notice each other when they are a). Naked b). Not Present. Fortunately the harsh words are softened immeasurably in a warm, airy melody (sensing a pattern?).
'Bittersweet Beguile' is the closing number of Now I’m Twenty-Five. A ballad written in the blood of his heartbreak, 'Bittersweet Beguile' makes no mystery of Cashmans feelings; he is as baffled by the oxymoron of his emotions as we are. Though the chorus lacks the cathartic punch we were hoping for - its probably the fault of the building verses which are nothing less than beautiful, both lyrically and musically.
If listened in succession, the album can be read as a structured story of an uncertain self that love found, devoured and eventually, faded into fond bitterness. Josh Cashman has produced a full-bodied, earnest album with a distinct and composed artistic colour that is highly impressive for a debut.
Now I’m Twenty-Five has found a versatility sweet spot in that you can enjoy it mid breakdown whilst staring out the car window with a single delicate tear dripping down your face, but it also wouldn't go amiss as the soundtrack to a summer beach gatho with friends.