Laid Back LA Country Rock With a Seattle Post-Punk Edge To It.
What a way to start a New Year!
I actually received this album just before Christmas; and while I had promised myself (at Mrs. Magpie’s suggestion!) that I would not listen to any new music over the holidays I sneaked it onto my i-phone for a secret listening session in the car. (Such hi-jinks is how many marriages break up, I’m assured).
Well ……. these self-confessed Country Rockers ‘blew me away’ as quickly as opening track Best Lonesome Friend; an intense alt-love song sung via a breathy rasping voice that sounds like the singer could break into tears at any second; which is always a winning combination around these here parts.
While everything revolves around the songs from singer Andy McAllister; you can’t forget the meticulous time keeping from drummer Ryan Wykert and bass player Ben Coil, or indeed guitar player extraordinaire Henry Derek Elis; who hides in the shadows throwing out musical laser beams with the greatest of ease too; all together reminding me of bands like Crazy Horse and the early Heartbreakers too.
A good solid band is only one part of the equation; for me it’s ‘the songs’ that separates the wheat from the chaff; and Cave Flowers have songs enough to satisfy even a weary old soak like me.
Friendly Reminders is a dashingly fine laid-back Country song, in the vein of Poco but with a massive sting in the tail when you listen closely to the lyrics; and it’s a similar story with Midnight Movie; which sounds like it was written after McAllister had immersed himself in the the Eagles first album for two days solid.
There’s plenty here for Americana fans to enjoy; with the imagery the band conjure up in Hideaways and The Stranger conjuring up their very own videos if you have even the lightest imagination in the world …… the pictures just unravel automatically as the words ooze out of the speakers.
Although this sounds like ‘Classic’ Country Rock or Americana; McAllister slips in some social commentary into Little Worries and the impassioned Renters Life, both of which are well worth hunting out in their own individual rite.
By the very nature of the band forming in LA there’s a refreshing laid back feel to the way these songs are delivered; but McAllister’s native Seattle post-industrial background sneak out in his songwriting; most especially in The Stranger and the ‘pedal to the metal’ Country Thrash of Great Hits too.
Then; as is my won’t I must choose a Favourite Song; and while this is a complete Album; ‘all killer – no filler’ three songs really do stand out; and bode well for a healthy future for Cave Flowers.
The magnificent Upper Hand has an unexpected dark crunch; but a very welcome one, plus it’s full of some clever wordery in the songwriting too.
Track #3 Country Fan is a real ole Doozy and is set certain to be a fan favourite when played live; and I’m sure there are still enough Internet Radio Shows out there brave enough to give it a play or two.
Then there is my absolute Favourite Song here; Trick Tears. Turn the lights down low, sit back and let Cave Flowers take you into a beautiful stratosphere inhabited by Eleanor Rigby and all of the other lonely people ….. tragically beautiful sums it up.
From start to finish this is the type of Good Ole Country Rock that has you tapping your fingers on the steering wheel as you mouth the words in a vacuous attempt at harmonising.
Released January 31st 2019