This might be The Cave Singers debut album, but it comes from three experienced songwriters; all three members, Pete Quirk, Derek Fudesco and Marty Lund, have recorded with punk bands in their native Seattle. ‘Invitation Songs’ is a beautiful and affecting album of bluesy folk.
Quirk’s voice can be gut-wrenching at times, and in ‘Helen’ and ‘New Monuments’, we are plunged into an atmosphere of old time blues singers, such as Townes Van Zandt and Mississippi John Hurt. The sheer movement of the guitar and drums in ‘Seeds of Night’ and especially ‘Dancing On Our Graves’ recall military marches, and exhibit the talent of all three musicians. ‘Oh Christine’ is a story of a woman just out of reach, or perhaps the ghost of a past love, appearing just when you don’t expect her. The last track on the album, ‘Called’, is a heartfelt tribute to the spiritualist tradition, a tale of death and return to the earth (“Your body’s broken, while mine’s on the sleeve. Down to the hearing, out with the stream you get down.”) The lyrics of each song on the album are poetic, and reminiscent of Sam Beam’s quiet and graceful elegies.
Throughout ‘Invitation Songs’, there is a recurring motif of loss – lost love, a lost self, and a lost past. Perhaps in folk music, The Cave Singers have found the most appropriate carriage for the expression of their human pain. Even so, in the melodies and rhythms of the album, Quirk, Fudesco and Lund have managed to produce an uplifting and inspiring album that deserves attention by lovers of all genres of music.
Words: Alice Turner