Cave Singers CD release party @ Easy Street 9/25
The Cave Singers – Invitation Songs (Matador)
review by Rachel LeBlanc
photos by Ron Henry
Imagine if the three members of the Violent Femmes had a darker, folksier version of themselves. This new set-up would surely be named The Cave Singers. Before I get tar-and-feathered for such a comparison, let me explain: Both bands have a sort of non-produced, acoustic guitar heavy right-in-the-room with you sound. They both have a darker edge to them. The strong desire to sing along and tap your foot overcomes the listener for both bands. And the way Pete Quirkâ€™s voice rings out in the opening of “New Monuments” sounds eerily like the way Gordon Ganoâ€™s voice rings out in the first few moment of “Add it Up.”
But forget comparisons â€” I could fill up a whole other paragraph with similarities to Fleeetwood Mac. Itâ€™s what the Cave Singers have that sets them apart that is worth writing about. On the surface, their sound is dark and bleak. The most common adjective used to describe them is “Appalachian” folk. Well, whatever that means; when I think about Appalachia, I think about buck-toothed in-breds who work their whole lives in a coal mine to die early of Black Lung disease. Personally I wouldnâ€™t want my band associated with that sort of imaginary. But, this description does have its validity, if itâ€™s being used to reference the haunting, down home roots feeling their music carries. Their songs are extremely anti-climatic, sounding as if they are building up tension through their duration, only to release toâ€¦their endings. However, even as someone who relishes in a good epic dynamic of build-up and release in songs, I find their lack thereof really refreshing, almost hopeful.
Underneath the dreary darkness of their music though, lie quite poetic songs about love, whether lost or currently lost in it. A peruse of the lyrics reveals a raw honesty of feelings. The girl(s) who this affection is geared towards must have amazing eyes, as eyes are referred to numerous times through out the album. Aforementioned “New Monuments” is an ode to being struck by love and consequently lost.
Other notable songs are “Dancing on Our Graves” which will definitely get you dancing on something. Closer “Calledâ€¦” is the darkest, and will linger with you long after the CD is done. A trombone breaking through the song sounds like a far-off animal or spirit.
While Iâ€™m writing this review, and the Cave Singers have received quite an outpour of press in just the past week since the CD release, no amount of good word will convince someone to get into them as much as just plain seeing them live. I attended the CD release in-store Tuesday night at Easy Street records, and not only is the press noticing, but the listeners certainly are as well. I wouldnâ€™t say the store was packed, but it was sure close to it. If you have any doubts about a “boring” or slow part of their songs while listening to it recorded, the trio brings life to every single moment of a song performing it live. Quirk is a true performer, adding improvisation and extras to his singing, his face twisted into rather strange expressions which are extremely entertaining to watch. Guitarist Derek Fudesco could not look like he was enjoying himself more. Even as their new CD was being released that day, they teased us with an even newer song. If that song was a preview of the future of the Cave Singers, then bring it on.