The Cave Singers

The Cave Singers

Seattle's ancient-sounding darlings.

The Cave Singers’ sound takes a bit of getting used to. Lead singer Pete Quirk’s vocals are shaky and shrill, often a tiny bit off-key. The band uses quite cyclical repetitions as their standard, as well as perhaps excessive tambourine licks and vocal wailing. But once you get over these idiosyncracies, you’ll start to realize that you’re really addicted to The Cave Singers' music. Pete Quirk’s voice begins sounding raw and timeless, the cyclical music, wails and tambourines begin sounding like they're part of some old-fashioned, whiskey-filled revival. I’ve fallen hard.

The Cave Singers formed in Seattle in 2007. The three member group combines Pete Quirk, formerly of Hint Hint on melodica, harmonica, vocals and guitar, Marty Lund of Cobra High on drums and guitar, and Derek Fudesco formerly of Pretty Girls Make Graves on guitar and bass. Since their inception, the band has released three full-length albums, including Invitation Songs in 2007, Welcome Joy in 2009 and No Witch in 2011.

The Cave Singers certainly have cultivated a sort of old-fashioned, wild sound popular with Seattle bands as of late. Perhaps in response to polished, calculated and technologically manipulated music, The Cave Singers’ sound seems purposely raw, the percussion particularly pounding, the guitar about to spin out-of-control. The shrieky, pitchy vocals invoke memories of untrained singers away from society, perhaps in cabins in the mountains somewhere. Certainly, the band’s name implies something ancient, music coming from somewhere raw and primal.

My favorite song of theirs is their extremely popular “Seeds of Nights” from their first album. Quirk’s voice is perfect on the cyclical song, as is a persistent bass drum beat that makes the repetitiveness effective. The lyrics are beautiful, including “Oh, I know/ Oh my love this is our town, where gray clouds wander over heaven and ground.” The simplicity of the song is very effective, and it doesn’t seem to try to be too hard to be anything in particular. Aesthetic, direction and perception is forgotten in favor of making a really good song. Take a listen:

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The Cave Singers have really become quite famous in the last few years. They’ve toured the United States, Canada and recently played a few shows in Germany, Switzerland and France. I know success like this makes a lot of indie music fans angry. They imagine that the band has sold out, and will completely change its sound for commercial appeal. But as long as The Cave Singers can hold on to their sound, their fame doesn’t seem too threatening. After all, they were pretty famous when they started this thing.