Thursday, December 6, 2007

Reviews:: Cave Singers Intimate Songs

Last week I mentioned that I had never heard the Cave Singers record, but after being told of the band's greatness, I decided to give Invitation Songs a run. Well, thanks to the fact I spent the week posting on Top Tens, I didn't try to blast through ten records and really spent time with Intimate Songs. First things first? It's obvious I made a huge mistake waiting that long.

The Cave Singers manage to use folk elements to create a "folk" record, but one that doesn't suffer from the pitfalls of gentle picked rhythms and swirling textures. Since the resurgence of freak folk courtesy of artists like Devendra, lots of less than talented artists have been trying to get their piece of the pie, but very few people can actually pull it off.

Guitarist Derek Fudesco, yes the bass player from Pretty Girls Make Graves, has a remarkably fresh take on folk. Rather than show off his intricate finger work, he is quite comfortable to find infectious melodies and run with them and the band helps the songs grow with well placed flourishes of music (the horns on the opening number) and grungy breakdowns. But the real treat is the way percussion is used. In most folk records, the drums are added to keep time and come off as an after thought. Throughout Intimate Songs, the percussion stands out, if even for a few notes at a time. The cymbal crashes that close Seeds of Night add the urgency start to feel as the songs grows, the ramshackle mix of sounds that drive the foot-stomping, frantic pace of Dancing on Our Graves or the tambourine clank of Elephant Clouds may be simple, but add so much.

I don't want to give the impression the band layers every note or tries to fill the tracks with too many sounds, in fact, quite the opposite. Pete Quirk's echoed, drawn out vocals shine through, they just yield to the crescendos perfectly. The band never avoids melody and even when venture into the psychedelic, like on Royal Lawns, the results never loses you and float along effortlessly. Whether it's a nice jangle guitar note or a 6-million dollar man sound effect, the record uses subtle evolution to keep you listening.

Admittedly, I'm late to the party on this record, but happy to be attending. Well worth a spin for any fans of adventurous folk music.

MP3:: Seeds of Night
MP3:: Cold Eye - daytrotter
Video:: Dancing on Our Graves

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Posted at 12:51 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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