Caveman formed in 2010 and it only took them about a year to write and record their self-released debut of Coco Beware. The album was eventually picked up by Fat Possum Records (the home of Youth Lagoon, The Black Keys, Wavves, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, to name a few) and the five-piece New Yorkers embarked on a two year long tour, increasingly earning them attention for their guitar-induced indie-folk sound.
Moving forward to 2013; we find the band exploring a more diverse set of aesthetics. The two album teasers we featured previously, show a band expanding on their folksy post-rock template with drifting synth-textures and intricate harmonies. “In the City” is a stratospheric effortless pop song with beautiful keyboards colored in shimmery neon lights, while “Over My Head” is even more surprisingly, a slow-paste etheric ballad, centered around a fluid synth-pad and elusive harmonies.
While they may not be very adventurous or unique, these two songs showed a band with an impeccable sense of melodic songwriting. Luckily at least a handful of the songs on their self-titled sophomore record follow in a similar way. One of the clear stand-outs “Shut You Down”, relies more on heavily reverberated guitars than synthesizers, but continues the Matthew Iwanusa’s tradition of churning out immediately likeable melodies. “I See You” is a haunting near-acoustic song, approaching a Springsteen-esque sense of scaled-down folk, while “Where’s The Time” is a slow-burner that ultimately erupts into beautiful ambient textures and harmonies.
It’s a largely cohesively well-crafted record, from a band that sounds like they’ve been playing together a lot longer than they actually have. The interplay between the glistening custom-made guitars and sweeping synthesizer-chords, builds a layered eclectic atmosphere that production-wise approaches near-on perfection. Unfortunately, this not always works to their advantage. Although beautiful on the surface, the greater part of the second half lacks to engage, becoming tougher to distinguish one song from the other.
Even though it’s a beautifully constructed album, Caveman struggle with their own identity, falling somewhere between a polished atmospheric version of Fleet Foxes or Wincing The Night Way-era The Shins and the late 80’s ambiance of bands like Tears For Fears. While Caveman in more than one way underpins the critique of contemporary indie rocks lack of inspiration and originality, they’re not a band that set out to explore uncharted territory. Nevertheless, Caveman has created a notably consistent record, where at least half of the songs on the album outweigh these shortcomings.
- Caveman – Over My Head (ifoundmusic.com)
- Stream: The New Caveman Album! (musicallyamusing.com)
- Album Review | ‘Caveman’ combines soft electronica, psychedelia (tuftsdaily.com)
- First Listen: Caveman, ‘Caveman’ (wnyc.org)
- Caveman at Troubadour, Los Angeles 3/28 (weheartmusic.typepad.com)
- Caveman Release New Single “Over My Head” (thewhatnyc.com)
- Listen | Caveman: “Over My Head” (iguessimfloating.net)
- Stream: Caveman, “Over My Head” (thefader.com)