Under Review

The Cave Singers

No Witch (Jagjaguwar)

Review by Slavko Bucifal

The Cave Singers - No Witch
The Cave Singers - No Witch

Cold Eye
Hailing from Seattle, but sounding like they’re from Mississippi, The Cave Singers aim to bring you round back for a foot tappin’ good time on the porch. Listening to the band for hours at a time, however, will reveal a lack of individuality between their songs.

The threesome gravitate toward a more unrefined brand of blues, usually focusing on minimal instrumentation and repeated musical patterns, somewhat like The Stone Roses, except with more of a pickup-truck-on-dirt-road sort of feel. Further classic influences can be heard on album highlights “Black Leaf” and “No Prosecution If We Bail,” where the trio seemingly pay a raucous tribute to the old time Mississippi blues. But No Witch simply does not announce its musical ideology and rest. Rather, every song dabbles with different influences and sounds while maintaining honesty to its cause. “Outer Realms” is an interesting blend of sell-your-soul-at-the-crossroads guitar riffs and middle eastern hand drum rhythms. “Clever Creatures” sheds a bit of the blues and adopts more of a indie-rock feel, while “Haystacks” provides a harmonica riff and a gospel inspired chorus. Regardless of the mood or temperament of its pieces, a binding element throughout the album is the band’s propensity to take a guitar riff and exploit it to the maximum. Often, there is no build up to a chorus. Sometimes there isn’t a chorus at all, but a meandering story set atop plucked, picked and slid chord progressions.

Listening to the album from start to finish is a non event, however, with vocalist Pete Quirk tending to sing in the same whisky-soaked rasp for most of its tracks, relying on Derek Fudesco’s guitar work to bring out the character of the song. Individually, there are some great tunes, but the album becomes a tad bit tedious.

Nevertheless, with their third release, The Cave Singes have generated a broader, bolder sound. Every track seems to draw something from American music history, and whether The Cave Singers use gospel, biker culture or poetry as their inspiration, their music is authentic and bears a primal quality. Pick out some of the highlights for your next blues mix tape. You will not be disappointed.