The Cave Singers – No Witch [Album Review]

by Woody on January 28, 2011

I’ve been a huge fan of the The Cave Singers over the years. There’s something almost hypnotic about their music, with Derek Fudescos melodic guitar riffs and Pete Quirck’s phantom vocals. Its ideal for driving north out of the city or for a snowed-in day like today.

Their third full-length, No Witch, is being released by Jagjaguwar on February 22. The rationale behind their switch from Matador to Jagjaguwar is a mystery, but I have a suspicion its related to their choice to bring in Randall Dunn (Black Mountain, Sunn O))), Boris) as producer this time around. Jagjaguwar describes No Witch as “grander and more lush” than their first two albums, Invitation Songs and Welcome Joy. I tend to agree, but the verdict is out on whether the direction works for me. There was a sparseness that I loved about their previous work. Stripped down music is vulnerable, and vulnerable music is difficult to do well. The trend towards over-production is disconcerting for those of us who value subtlety in music.

Having said this, No Witch is growing on me as an album. I quickly fell for the second half of the album, starting with Haller Lake. Clever Creatures is a standout. I’m also starting to get into some of the new elements, like the gospel chorus on Haystacks and the Indian classical vibe on Outer Realms.

As is often the case, the definitive moment will be seeing this material live. Speaking of which, they’ve just announced a series of tour dates this spring.

The Cave Singers – Swim Club

Feb 12   Olympia, WA                    The Northern The Northern
Feb 22   Seattle                                 Easy Street Records (Queen Anne)
Mar 10  San Francisco                  Great American Music Hall
Mar 12  Visalia, CA                         The Cellar Door
Mar 13  Los Angeles                       Autry
Mar 14  San Diego                           Casbah
Mar 20  San Francisco                  Great American Music Hall
Mar 21  Birmingham                      Bottletree Cafe
Mar 23  Atlanta                                The Earl Restaurant and Bar
Mar 30  Washington DC                The Red
Mar 31  New York City                  Music Hall of Williamsburg
Apr 4     Buffalo                                 The Mohawk Place
Apr 5     Toronto, Canada             The Drake Hotel
Apr 7     Chicago                               Lincoln Hall
Apr 8     Bloomington, IN             Russian Recording

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