By Al Kaufman
When the Brooklyn quintet, Caveman, released their debut CD, CoCo Beware, it raised enough of a ruckus in the indie pop world that it was eventually picked up by Fat Possum Records. For their self-titles sophomore release, but first one with actual label backing, they first escaped to guitarist Jimmy “Cobra” Carbonetti’s grandmother’s barn — the attic of the barn, to be more precise – to record new sounds before doing the really heavy lifting at Brooklyn’s Rumpus Room studio.
The end result is a rich, expansive landscape of sonic sounds and layered snyths; as if Tangerine Dream merged with Fleet Foxes. It’s music that knocks on the door of New Age without ever entering. Although when Matthew Iwanusa repeats the line “Let it go” over a lush dreamscape of synths and guitars on “The Big Push,” it sounds like something that should be swelling in the background of a breakthrough yoga scene in an ‘80s movie.
The rest of the CD fares better. “In the City” has a futuristic sound that would fit right in on Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. “Shut You Down” has an easy, Todd Rundgren-like feel, while “Pricey” is full of swirling guitar sound that the Cure relies on.
“Where is the time to waste on someone else’s life?” asks Iwanusa on “Where’s the Time.” These are the issues that the band confronts. It is a constant struggle between hope and despair. Like the music, the lyrics become weightier with each repeated listen. This album slowly grows on you, shimmering up your leg until it burrows into your ear.