The Cave Singers‘ sound has certainly developed since their successful 2007 debut album, Invitation Songs. Recorded in Vancouver, Welcome Joy, exhibits more variety than their original signature blend of Americana meets English folk.
The alt-county nasal vocal and laid-back slide guitar picking are still there from the outset. The opening track, -Summer Light’, is comforting and familiar, but -At The Cut’ sees the Seattle trio unleash their inner rock child, and they certainly have fun in the process. However, they have not strayed too far from their roots – -Leap’ is reminiscent of their previous single -Dancing On Our Graves’. They maintain the fragile singer-songwriter sound, but spice things up with some great lyrics (‘You’re damned if you’re wrong, you’re damned if you’re right’¦ they’re damned if they’re right, they’re damned if they are wrong, but they don’t mind’ from -Summer Light’).
Ultimately, like the softer side of The White Stripes, they show some commendable influences (Leadbelly, Bukka White) but also aspects of acoustic Rolling Stones circa Exile On Main Street; certainly an exceptional pedigree. But certain experimentation on this album falls short of the mark, as with the final track -Bramble’, a good song, but its hollow echoed acoustic makes it sound like it was recorded in a cupboard outside the studio. The albums only major fault is that it is lacking in length. Coming in at less than 35 minutes, Welcome Joy is more a case of quality over quantity. But that’s never a bad complaint.
To hear selections from this album in coming weeks and more innovative arrangements of traditional songs tunes into That’s All Folk on Dublin City FM 103.2 Thursday 11-30am.