The Cave Singers - Welcome Joy

'Leap' heads off into country territory with a harmonica as its battle flag.

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Released 18 Aug 2009 | Matador | By Greg Inglis | Rating: 3-5
The Cave Singers - Welcome Joy

Often when bands or artists pursue alternative musical avenues they end up sounding not a million miles from their previous incarnation, as anybody who has listened to the latest offering of Paul Banks from Interpol will testify to. In this case it's the complete reverse as Paul Hint (ex-Hint Hint), Marty Lund (ex-Cobra High) and Derek Fudesco (ex-Pretty Girls Make Graves) serve up an earthy acoustic-driven feast of folk whilst the aforementioned would hardly constitute listening fare at the average family dinner table.

'Summer Light' is a beautifully crafted opening shot across the bows, a heart-stirring effort with its gentle plea to "dance in the doldrums of each new day" and a piece which sets the tone for what's to come. 'Leap' heads off into country territory with a harmonica as its battle flag, whilst the gritty 'At The Cut' could have found its way onto the latest Kasabian album if it had dared to sell its very soul. The impotent 'Shrine' is their first real step off the mark as it twists and turns around tribal hand drums, but fails to catch light whilst drowning in its own mystic air.

'Hen Of The Woods' has a gentle outdoor feel, while 'Beach House' is equally pleasant but inoffensive folk-lite meandering. After this wobble of sorts they come back strong with 'VV', a simple guitar and percussion-based track that delivers the goods, whereas 'I Don't Mind' is a solid grower which unearths hidden depths with each repeat listen. The penultimate 'Townships' has more of a narrative feel and is heavily doused with emotion in its mood of reflective contemplation. This pales in comparison with the closing 'Brambles', a haunting lament where verse and chorus roll into one another like waves crashing to shore. Its near claustrophobic production is heavily reminiscent of the sound produced by Bon Iver on his breakthrough album and there can be few greater compliments.

Whilst this 'Welcome Joy' sticks closely to the musical template of their debut 'Invitation Songs' there is more than enough quality here to recommend this is an additional purchase. It's the sort of album that sounds great in summer but yet will warm your heart when the cold face of winter rears its ugly head.