The Cave Singers - Naomi

7/10

The Cave Singers sound like a garage band that formed during a garage sale, songs taking cues from milk crates, and cut down to a price anyone can afford.

“Back to basics” feels like the appropriate term to use, given the easily-replicable parts of each song written: faithfully-moderate bass, drums, stand-alone vocals, and guitars no more three layers deep.  At its simplest, a song will have no more than four bass notes, a ringing guitar line, vocals doing the rest (‘Evergreens’).

On Naomi, we meet a band that often vies for rustic simplicity, but walks out of the woods every so often.  Consistency is a classic mentality.  Inconsistency is how that can mentality can range from dirty blues-rock garage fuzz (‘It’s a Crime’) to the propulsive edge/sonic dynamics of the Velvet Underground (‘When the World’ and ‘Early Moon’) to Graceland-era Paul Simon by way of Lindsay Buckingham (‘Canopy’ and ‘No Tomorrows’).

The shape-shifting is what makes the album incredibly interesting, moving from one style to the next – whether those guitars flick, chime or slice – although what kills the fun is in how long each song resides in those guitar movements.  For instance, ‘Shine’ is basically five straight minutes of the one lulling guitar line.  It’s some pleasant guitar-work, but five minutes’ worth demands a lot from what could be ascertained by a few nicely-separated verse sections.

But these simple moments are offset by grander, more exciting ones.  ’Northern Lights’, for instance, becomes an entirely different song halfway through, as it morphs from a strummy folk-pop gem to a sparse jam session from the ’60s – early Doors sans  keyboardist Ray Manzarek.

What we have here, then, is a quintessential indie rock band that proudly occupies a space dominated by tube amps, tambourines, and boxes of old baby clothes.  The neighbours shouldn’t mind a bit.