Thursday, September 3, 2009

Letting in the sunlight with the Cave Singers, "Welcome Joy"

It seemed to somehow be worth holding onto the upbeat mood of yesterday, at least for a little bit longer, and so today I decided to listen to the Cave Singers' latest release, Welcome Joy - which I guess is a sort of alt-folk type of sound, with maybe a few tinges of country and rock thrown in throughout. But whatever its genre - and, believe me, it's taking me a lot, lot longer to learn my genres that it took me to learn the alphabet in primary school - this music is just terrific.

There's a line in the opening song - “Dance in the doldrums of each new day” – that seems to typify what this album is all about: a refusal to be brought down, and a determination to see everything as an excuse to dance.

The music seems to always be built on a solid, dependable beat, and uses simple, unpretentious bricks of acoustic and sometimes electric guitars, and earthy, you-could-be-my-best-friend type voices, to build a home that invites you in, keeps you warm and makes you feel safe.

The album just overflows with wonderful devices to make the music weave its charm - like the way you want to cry for joy at the entrance of the harmonica in "Leap", or the sense of intimacy you get from the sounds of hands on drums in "Shrine"; or the way the guitar riffs all through the album keep returning to their root, making you feel centred; or the smooth, magical vocal backings, soothing the rough but grounded voice of Peter Quirk; or the jaunty, funky guitar tunes of "VV", that makes you want to play – with life, every bit as much as with the guitar; or the warm, orange-hued chords that punctuate “Beach House”, really taking you to the beach and the sun. It all just works so well, and everything, every little shade of colour, seems to blend together to make this album into something organic and full of life.

The album ends with the relative peace and calm of "Bramble", recalling the centred riffs of "Leap", but bringing everything to a kind of rest, as if you just need to lie down for a while, with a smile on your face, after all that fresh air and sunshine.

The Cave Singers’ Welcome Joy is exactly that - a welcome joy. If there was a musical version of a dog wagging its tail, this would be it.

Thanks heaps, Scott, for introducing me to the Cave Singers!

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