Chris Cacavas


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After the roaring sound of Chris Cacavas' albums with Junkyard Love, the gentle, folkish numbers that begin this album are a real surprise. You keep waiting for the sudden surprise as the band kicks in and blasts these tunes. That full-band sound does eventually come in, but not until the fifth cut. In the meantime listeners have a bit of time to remember that other Chris Cacavas, the one who could deliver a quiet, confessional song in a pure, clear voice. That voice can be suffused with irony, as in "Sullen," a sweet, upbeat song about feeling anything but sweet and upbeat. The title tune brings back the inevitable comparisons to early Neil Young, and for the best reasons -- it's a fine piece of poetry delivered with passion and a folksy guitar accompaniment. The band comes in on "Disappear," and it's immediately obvious that this isn't the same group who appeared on Cacavas' previous three albums. Junkyard Love would have powered this cut through the stratosphere, but the Steve Wynn-led band here rocks with a bit more restraint. That is typical of the material here, and it fits material that is simultaneously meditative and abstract. Though almost every lyric is written in the first person, most of the songs are about emotions rather than the specific situations that caused them. As an example, "You're Gonna Pay" is about revenge, but for what? Listeners never find out. There are tantalizing clues in some songs, though none are straightforward. Poetry isn't about concise thoughts unless you're writing haiku, and on Anonymous Chris Cacavas is a poet with a guitar, a keyboard, and a good, subtle backup band. Those who want the drive and immediacy of the Junkyard Love albums may be confused by the shift in style, but this is still recognizably a Chris Cacavas album, and a pretty good one.

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