Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: Bob Dylan, Invitation Songs, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Releases of the Week, The Cave Singers, Welcome Joy
PREVIEW: Download The Cave Singers’ “Beach House” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts
For fans of art-punk outfit Pretty Girls Make Graves, I’m sure you’re already over the fact that The Cave Singers sound nothing like them. Gone are the quick hits and angsty vocals of the former. In their place, The Cave Singers are dominated by Pete Quirk’s Dylanesque stylings encased in the more subdued aesthetic they introduced on their previous effort, Invitation Songs, and have nearly perfected on Welcome Joy. Don’t mistake that for timidity though. Quirk’s voice soars over the strong, yet soft, instrumental pieces with a confidence only acquired with experience. Appropriately, Welcome Joy sounds like the end of summer, but not depressingly so. From song to song, each exists as its own individual celebration of what was, rather than a lament. Compared to the previous effort, this album can also be considered more raucous. Among the usual and expected medium-tempo acoustic tracks, there are also a few songs one could consider barn burners. “At the Cut,” which many fans have heard already via pre-release previews, is brash, and “dirty” might be the best way to describe it. It comes off as pure rock ‘n’ roll, and is definitely one of the standouts on this mostly folk-rock recor
Other notables include another track which hit the Internet a few months back, “Beach House,” as well as the surprising “Vv.” The former, unlike any other song on Welcome Joy, embraces its role as a token mainstream rock track, yet doesn’t veer enough off the album’s intended course to put off listeners. Rather, its stress on vocal harmonies, and honest lyrical approach have your ears perked up at attention. Similarly, “Vv” is disarming with such a genuine presentation towards songwriting. Inviting and familiar, this western folk number touches a more personal chord, and creates a fantastic middle-of-album experience. It’s not so much emotional, as it is simply joyful — a dynamic and warm track that transcends the album, as ephemeral a moment as it may see
For a folk album with seemingly basic goals and tendencies, Welcome Joy manages to be an evocative and introspective trip through the human mind. For every reflection of the past, there’s an outlook towards the future. From beginning to end, it’s shockingly personal and even a bit revealing to our own senses of self. As enjoyable as Invitation Songs was, it failed to affect you in such a way that sticks around after the final note ends. Welcome Joy is not life-changing, nor is it flawless, but for what it’s worth, it is a memory worthy of your time.
— John Cassillo