The Cave Singers: Invitation Songs (Matador)

 |   |  <1 min read

The Cave Singers: Elephant Clouds
The Cave Singers: Invitation Songs (Matador)

Singers don't come with a more appropriate surname than Peter Quirk of Seattle's Cave Singers -- his vocals are indeed quirky. He delivers with nail-hard and assertive confidence, doesn't seem to have much of a range and there is a constant shudder to his sound.

Yet in these 10 originals by this three-piece his declamatory style rides over the simple and sometimes primitive rhythms (primitive in a good way) with such stark originality that it becomes quite compelling.

Their record label speaks of his "appealingly nasal voice [which] simultaneously echoes Arlo Guthrie and a mosquito's buzz" -- which is pretty accurate. Although I'd add in some suggestions of Paul Westerberg into the mix too.

The Cave Singers aren't an easy option and only in a few places do they conform to the "folk" label that they have been given. But there is something almost ancient-sounding here and in places it harks back to that "old weird American" which Harry Smith documented.

With finger-picked guitar and simple percussion (plus the odd hamronica and lonely trumpet), this low-key and earthy recording captures them much as you might find them in a living room or old barn. It has a raw but right ambience.

And Quirk's vocals will doubtless get you after a couple of listens.

But it may take a couple.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Alt-J: An Awesome Wave (Infectious)

Alt-J: An Awesome Wave (Infectious)

These days genre-ignoring bands are so common they require no introduction or explanation. But few are as provocative as Alt-J out of Cambridge, England who pull together slivers of... > Read more

Booker T: Potato Hole (Anti)

Booker T: Potato Hole (Anti)

This was either going to be brilliant, or . . .  First the background: here is the great soul-funk Hammond B3 organ player Booker T (he of Green Onions fame with the MGs, and that band... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER CHRIS BOURKE shares an extract from his new book Goodbye Maoriland, The Songs and Sounds of New Zealand’s Great War

GUEST WRITER CHRIS BOURKE shares an extract from his new book Goodbye Maoriland, The Songs and Sounds of New Zealand’s Great War

Editor's note: Chris Bourke is a writer, journalist and radio producer who in the past was editor of Rip It Up, arts and books editor at the NZ Listener and for many years produced the Saturday... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Junior Marvin

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Junior Marvin

If singer/guitarist Junior Marvin cites Bob Marley quite a lot it's because he spent four years in Marley's Wailers – the final four of Bob's life which ended in '81 – and then with... > Read more