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Invitation Songs (Bonus Track Version)

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iTunes Review

Rising from the ashes of the atmospheric pop of Pretty Girls Make Graves, garage-rockers Murder City Devils, and the gloomy Hint Hint, Seattle’s Cave Singers somehow ended up with a neu-folk (or neo-folk?) sound, much in the vein of Iron and Wine or Great Lake Swimmers. The trio isn’t afraid to do a little American roots deconstruction, and the results are impressive: they build interesting songs using Spartan instrumentation and unique arrangements, letting each (mostly) acoustic instrument speak for itself. Vocalist Pete Quirk finds a gentler side to the sneery vocals he used in Hint Hint, expressing himself with more of a nasal, hillbilly purr, which works to great effect on delicate songs such as “Helen,” “Elephant Clouds” and “Seeds of Night,” with their gentle, brushed toms, lacy, finger-picked guitar work, and lonely kick drums. “Cold Eye” plays like a lullaby; absent any percussion, the song floats along on Quirk’s withered vocal with minimal guitar and the occasional sparkle of a tambourine.  While there is plenty to admire here, the single “Dancing on Our Graves” — a spare, stomping, washboard-accented number that evokes the darker side of fervent spiritual exhortation — is astoundingly habit-forming. Invitation Songs is quietly powerful, and quite remarkable.

Customer Reviews

Prodigies emerge!

There is a firey, almost punk spirit, behind the raw vocals and unexpected drum beats of these folk-infused jamsters. There is a pointful, hypnotic air about the music they produce. It grabs you; it pulls you in; it leaves you refreshed and focused. If in doubt, try the following: Step One: Download this album Step Two: Play loudly Spiritual battery now recharged. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

No, read this.

I would actually give this album a four, but considering the inordinate amount of one-star ratings on here (and a three-star average???), I deemed five necessary. One negative reviewer said one thing that I agree with: it seems like people feel the "need" to like certain bands simply because they're different. I've struggled with this too; there are bands out there that are just too bizarre for my taste, and it's frustrating when so many others swear by them and I can't tell how. He then went on to make a ridiculous and embarassing comment about getting "lucky" in a backwoods bar. So it turns out that we're not alike after all. Someone else made a comment about others needing a grammar lesson, and then went on to attack the band's "nasally, bad voice." His voice is nasally, and BAD? Can't mess with that vocabulary. And you're right, I'll bet this band would be making alternative music like this if they were in it for the money. Makes sense to me. Personally, friend, listening to music made by bands and artists who are just trying to make a buck has never been very rewarding. Now for the good of it: the band is minimalist, organic, honest, and darn-near original for this day and age. They let their tunes breathe, and aren't afraid to stick with their style throughout the length of the album. Every song's very listenable; I particularly dig the first two tracks and number nine. And on the singer's voice: don't be jealous (ha, I'll bet that causes a keyboard slam or two from our immature colleagues). Enjoy the music.

one of the best albums of the year

This album is easily one of the best of the year. I've heard this band compared to just about every folk artist around but i think they have managed to create an original, unique sound unlike any other. I can't recommend this album enough. Those who want to dismiss it immediately for the unusual vocals do themselves a major disservice. Try actually listening to the beautiful lyrics and the simple but perfect guitar and percussion. Standouts are New Monuments and Cold Eye but it's hard to pick a favorite on this album. The wide range of songs on here will make you want to cry or dance or both.


Formed: 2007 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Given the rising popularity of meditative, folky indie acts in the early 2000s, forming a twangy, rootsy folk trio was probably the least surprising move Derek Fudesco could have made. The former bassist and founding member of the successful indie rock group Pretty Girls Make Graves picked up an acoustic guitar and formed the Cave Singers following PGMG's demise in January 2007, teaming up with vocalist Pete Quirk (formerly of Hint Hint) and drummer Marty Lund (formerly of Cobra High). Though not...
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