There are songs that are only fully realized in the grooves of polyvinyl chloride pressings. Considering how warm, rich and inviting the end product is, it’s always felt weird to me that vinyl is completely unnatural, formed by a subtraction reaction. In a comparison that seems fitting for most great, gut punching songs, the best sound is only developed when something is taken away.
In much the same way, the warming glow of Old Cabin’s new self-titled is equally as surprising. The band, a collection of friends nestled in chilly confines of the Yukon, offers a familiar chug and working glass grit, but these songs are not the slow burning embers we huddle around arms extended. They aren’t beards or thick plaid shirts; these songs are rays of sunlight that cut through the chill.
Old Cabin plays folk songs, and sadly, that limiting descriptor is as much a curse as a safety net. Those two words are a branding as lasting as playground unpopularity. Those two words can’t prepare listeners for the surprising bounce of melody or percussive thump Old Cabin fuses into this record. At their best, “The Cave”, Old Cabin reminds me of Nathan Lawr’s infectious solo work, but Jona Barr deserves better than direct comparisons (even if that is an artist whose work means a lot to me).
Barr and his friends straddle the line between understated, warm folk and chugging guitar riffs, but it’s the energetic piano, feedback drones and noise experiments that helps these songs stick. There is something lasting in the listen. There are moments as beautiful as first light, and others that take flight and aim for the heavens. There are moments that run you over and moments that let you just exist contentedly. Basically, Old Cabin has documented life, with all it’s highs and lows, and offers it humbly to anyone that wants to listen. I recommend you do.
Old Cabin are about to hit the road and tour the living shit out of these songs. Hopefully they make enough fans (ducats) to press these songs into the perfect medium.