It isn’t fair to compare an artist’s solo work to her previous endeavors with full-fledged bands, but with Cassie Ramone, it is almost impossible to not. Ramone was the most prominent voice of Vivian Girls, a band that while only achieving what could be considered cult status in a pop-heavy world, made an indelible mark in its seven years together. A first listen to The Time Has Come, Ramone’s first record as a solo act, can feel like a rough draft of a Vivian Girls release. It’s bedroom recording at its finest—Ramone alone with her thoughts, a guitar and a recording device.
From this perspective, the album feels hollow—her meandering vocal lines in “I’m a Loser” and “The Time Has Come” trail off like a kid singing to herself while she plays alone. There is no punchy beat or heavy sound to carry the sad tracks along. But it is after multiple listens to The Time Has Come that something deeper is revealed—these are not just skeletons of songs, they are whole songs on their own. It’s diary-heavy and solemn, yes, but also sprinkled with happy mini-anthems like “Song of Love,” which has Ramone singing what resembles a children’s church song she wrote for herself.
“Hanging On” and “Sensitive Soul” are highlighted by beautiful layers of Ramone’s own voice. The album is both lonely-sounding and strong, coming across like a secret piece of work the artist has labored over long before deciding to share it with the world. But she isn’t totally alone in this world — Ariel Pink makes a few subtle appearances on bass throughout The Time Has Come. Still, the album feels like a desolate tribute to a life after Vivian Girls, one that Cassie Ramone will hopefully keep sharing with the world.