Through a shroud of hazy harmonies, Caveman offers a dose of wistfulness on their debut, Coco Beware. The relative newcomers sound like theyve stepped out from the mellow, folk-rock shadow of yesterday but with some prominent, tribal-like drumming (A Countrys King of Dreams), vocals fit for a lullaby (December 28th), and a smirking, lazy-day vibe (Old Friend). These New Yorkers have concocted a tight 10-song debut best suited to the merry, yet weathered, post-Animal Collective era.
Their breezy melodies have rightfully gained them opening slots for 70s-influenced Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, as well as fellow genre-bending Brooklynites Here We Go Magic. Frontman Matthew Iwanusas layered vocals meet slow-burning pop sensibilities on My Time, while Decide finds him soaring sweetly on a timeless hook. (The Beach Boys influence is not lost.) Elsewhere, Cavemans inventive instrumentation comes to light: Easy Water hypnotically sloshes forth as Iwanusas voice awakens ever so gently, and Vampire is a somber instrumental standout, relying on a hungry bass drum to drive it forward.
Its also the key lead-in to Old Friend, which perfectly melds the slightly psych-tinged nostalgia with the bands sharp guitar work and precise, but never forced, drum patterns. On the antisocial My Room, the thwack of the drumstick once again reinforces Cavemans strengths — willingness to explore these tribal effects while embracing dreamy, chamber pop-esque harmonies. Thankful, for instance, rings out with hushed sighs and a beat that threatens to shake off slumping summer vibes.
Caveman are lucky enough to have slowly built a buzz over the short time the five-piece have been together, and on the strength of Coco Beware, it shouldnt slow any time soon. In fact, its a perfect post-summer pick-me-up thats hard not to listen to all the way through.
Essential Tracks: Old Friend, Thankful, and A Countrys King of Dreams