By Elizabeth Walker | March 14th, 2011
The Cave Singers dropped their third release last month, No Witch. Starting off with their hallmark feel-good, folksy sound, frontman Pete Quirk’s sandy voice floats about “Gifts and the Raft” with slow guitar melodies and harmonizing vocals. Quickly, the album takes a turn to a darker side with a few guttural, hard-core tracks; “Black Leaf” and “Faze Wave” showcase a rougher, more cynical picture than what would historically be expected from this group. Moving through the light thunderstorm of the first half of the album, their familiar sound again returns on “Haller Lake” and “Distant Sures.”
No Witch is a clear break from their previous style, perhaps symbolic of their recent decision to move labels from Matador to Jagjaguwar. Whether consciously or not, it’s seems as if they are an anguished teenager proving their established emancipation. Or perhaps they are attempting to make a move away from other popular indie/folk Seattle bands such as Fleet Foxes. This stylistic move is not completely surprising, however, considering that the band members came from the pillages of Pretty Girls Make Graves, Hint Hint, and Cobra High.
Whatever the rationale, the album is solid yet varied — something that potentially may not be easily received to those who are expecting the same sort of round, idealistic themes fully embraced on their previous releases. The trio has proven together they can rock, however, so hopefully they will be able to translate this energy from the studio to live performances. Arrangements are well calculated and soulful, no matter the tone of the song.
The Cave Singers are currently on tour, hitting up most major US cities as well as Toronto and Vancouver. Fittingly, they started the tour with a small in-studio in Seattle, and end with a full show again in their hometown. As a previous attendee of a Cave Singers show, I’d try to make this one. For more information on the band and tour dates, please visit their official website.