hard to peg these guys
hearing someone but not sure who
folky on the lighter tracks

Grade - 1.7

released Feb 22nd, 2011

from the album - Swim Club - 2.0


from all music


Given the rising popularity of meditative, folky indie acts in the early 2000s, forming a twangy, rootsy folk trio was probably the least surprising move Derek Fudesco could have made. The former bassist and founding member of the successful indie rock group Pretty Girls Make Graves picked up an acoustic guitar and formed the Cave Singers following PGMG's demise in January 2007, teaming up with vocalist Pete Quirk (formerly of Hint Hint) and drummer Marty Lund (formerly of Cobra High). Though not an "official" member, ex-PGMGer Andrea Zollo made an appearance on the group's first album as a vocalist and washboard player. Drawing from canonical folkies like Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, and sounding more than a little like other early-2000s acts like Lightning Dust, the Snake the Cross the Crown, and Samamidon, the group had its first album, Invitation Songs, recorded and ready to go (thanks in large part to Black Mountain producer Colin Stewart) within months of PGMG's breakup. Matador picked up the trio soon after, and following a few delays Invitation Songs was slated for release in late September. The band continued on a similar path for 2008's Welcome Joy, but worked with producer Randall Dunn -- who also made albums with Sunn 0))) and Boris -- on 2011's eclectic No Witch.

Album Review

After two albums of perfecting their backwoods acoustic charm, the Cave Singers go electric and eclectic on No Witch. The band enlisted producer Randall Dunn -- best known for working with Boris, Sunn 0))), and Black Mountain -- to help with the transformation, and it’s a stunning one. The change might not be as shocking as, say, when Bob Dylan went electric, but it’s still something of a shock to hear the pastoral sound of the Cave Singers' past chopped down by plugged-in axes. To be fair, the band eases listeners into the transition, kicking off the album with two songs that would have been standouts on Invitation Songs or Welcome Joy. “Gifts and the Raft” is another showcase for Pete Quirk's rustic rasp, while “Swim Club” is aptly sweet and summery, rounded out by buoyant flutes that suggest the fuller sound the band explores later. “Black Leaf” announces the band’s newfound rock with strutting riffs, a promise the Cave Singers make good on with the bluesy swagger and gospel singers of "Falls," evoking both Cold War Kids and Beggars Banquet-era Rolling Stones. Of course, the band’s members played in rock bands before forming the Cave Singers, but it’s to their credit that No Witch's electrified sound has little to do with their previous work and that it sounds so natural, whether they chase the kinetic groove of "Clever Creatures" or get smoky and mystical on “Outer Realms.” That they sound equally at home on the gentle chamber folk of "Distant Sures" and the final, emphatic blast of "No Prosecution If We Bail" shows just how balanced and dynamic they’ve become, and what an assured album No Witch is.

Track Listing

1 Gifts and the Raft 2:34
2 Swim Club 3:01
3 Black Leaf 3:23
4 Falls 4:28
5 Outer Realms 4:45
6 Haller Lake 3:54
7 All Land Crabs and Divinity Ghosts 4:00
8 Clever Creatures 3:14
9 Haystacks 3:18
10 Distant Sures 3:11
11 Faze Wave 3:28
12 No Prosecution If We Bail 3:23