In 2011, The Cave Singers abandoned the minimalism that defined their first two records, tore a page out of Dylan’s book, and went electric. The band’s raspy-voiced frontman Peter Quirk called the result, No Witch, “sort of the end of a trilogy.” The Seattle group’s new era means the addition of a bass player; the band’s long-time friend Morgan Henderson (formally of Blood Brothers and Fleet Foxes) hopped on board to turn this trio into a fuller, new-and-improved quartet.
As a result, the band strays from its rustic early days — albeit slighly. There’s an ample amount of electric guitar, leading to a kerfuffle with rock ‘n’ roll on “It’s a Crime”, and the upgrade from bass pedals to the real thing births the low end-driven “Early Moon”. The influence of the band’s new lineup and producer Phil Elk (Fleet Foxes, The Shins) figure deep into Naomi, brandishing moments of light delicacy that don’t propel the band quite far enough. While these moments are all well and good, they leave this record feeling like No Witch part two, rather than its own, post-trilogy entity.
The album’s title is based on a fictional muse who, as MTV reports, “guided the group to a somewhat more positive sound on the album”, does just that but in turn, keeps her cards too close to her vest. The album’s press release boasted “songs of addiction, car ownership, fireworks, tree houses, moving to New Mexico and God”, but the varying topics and often-indistinct lyrics miscommunicate, making this record better suited for easy listening than deep delving.
Essential Tracks: “Have to Pretend”, “Northern Lights”