The Cave Singers

Welcome Joy

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With a warmer style than the name Cave Singers might suggest, Welcome Joy is a simple and easygoing indie folk romp that picks up right where the trio's debut, Invitation Songs, left off. Welcome Joy was recorded again with Black Mountain's Colin Stewart in Vancouver, and his pals Amber Webber (of Black Mountain and Lightning Dust) and Ashley Webber (also of Lightning Dust) assisted Derek Fudesco, Marty Lund, and Pete Quirk on the record. It's an Americana-rooted soundtrack for the change of the seasons, with two-chord structures and organic, free-spirited instrumentation. John Prine and Jeff Tweedy are touchstones here, but the most overt influence is Fleetwood Mac. Not only do the songs resemble the melodies found on Rumours, but coincidentally, Quirk's voice sounds a lot like a cross between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. "I Don't Mind" is a carefree jamboree, with kick drum, tambourine, and harmonica laying the foundation for a fingerpicked electric guitar. Meanwhile, "VV" is a pleasant backwoods birdwatching ditty, and "Leap" propels from a stripped-down guitar and vocal line into a full-fledged rollicking romp. A few songs take a tougher turn -- "At the Cut" incorporates some gritty distortion and "Shrine" is a dark, brooding bongo number, where Quirk's weathered voice shines, but the Cave Singers' best moments are when they tone back the brooding and stick to carefree major-chord jams. Most of the album stays true to a light flavor, and Welcome Joy is a nice, comfortable listen, right up there with Invitation Songs.

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