Monday, September 21, 2009

Review: The Cave Singers (* * * 1/2)

Though The Cave Singers gained initial notoriety as an offshoot of art-punk group Pretty Girls Make Graves (and to a lesser extent Murder City and Hint Hint), it didn’t take long for their debut album, Invitation Songs, to make a deeper impression. I found myself only marginally drawn in to the band’s folky Americana style – uncharacteristic of their lineage – and while much of the critical reception reflected my lukewarm reaction, I never stopped hearing about the band during the last six months of 2007, as the boys quickly built a sizable fan base. The appeal certainly wasn’t difficult to hear; The Cave Singers make the kind of classic folk revival music that I’m typically a sucker for, with gritty tenor vocals, acoustic guitars and simple percussion providing a familiar but welcome template for the world-weary, quasi-religious songwriting that is at least decent and often better, even if the lyrics sometimes feel a bit tired. Though the music on their debut is consistently enjoyable, there isn't really anything new there, as Invitation Songs continues to sound like its stocked with lesser versions of preexisting songs, providing little that's novel or unique. Likewise Welcome Joy, a record that doesn’t really have much wrong with it, especially at first listen. In fact, the new album can be seen in some respects as a marked improvement for the band. (Continue Reading...)