Let say what I don't like about Invitation Songs by the Seattle based Cave Singers ... right up front and foremost, the album opens sounding for all the world like Lindsey Buckingham, especially on the first three tracks [with "Dancing On Our Graves" being the most offensive, where I swear Mick Fleetwood is sitting in on percussions], and is no doubt subconsciously why so many people are going to be drawn this bit Laurel Canyon contemporary folk songs that go down easy as pre-rolled California pop.
With that out of the way, what's presented here is lushly fresh and haunting, both vocally and atmospherically, and filled with enough background texturing and surprises to hold your attention for years to come. The music is driving, yet in a slow measured cadence manner, rolling on with perfection and grace, an aspect that's missing in so much acoustic guitar based music, songs that seem to be filled with endless sloppy string chirping that I find myself more often than not, dismissing the music with a wave of my hand ... but not here.
The Cave singers have magically managed to take what sounds like vintage folk songs, songs filled with dramatic imagery, and presents them with a grainy jangling edge that lets them sound retro and new in the same breath, one where seams are pulled together so tightly it's nearly impossible not to recognize the flawlessness as much as the the songs themselves. I doubt this would be possible were it not for the band's punk and flannel backstory ... though it's here, through their love of not only roots oriented music, but in creating a chilled campfire lost in the woods atmosphere that sets the stage for this outing, an atmosphere where it all falls into place, with the Cave Singers simmering up an intoxicating blend of blues, neo-psychedelic, and experimental infused sounds that rely as much on the vocals as the instrumentation.
And in the end, its not the strumming or vocals of Fleetwood Mac that holds my attention at all, it's remembering Led Zeppelin's "Going To California" ... and that truly causes me to smile.
Review by Jenell Kesler