BY STEPHANIE MIRANDA
Cave People, best described as a “makeshift” band, is led by Dave Tomaine and a revolving door of other members from Philly based bands Cherry, Eight, Rozwell Kid,”Loose Tooth and Three Man Cannon. Their sound is a blend of easy going, upbeat, and smooth melodies that make you want to lay down and just listen. Dedicated to their late friend and bassist Spencer Spirit Hogans, their latest album Looking is exactly the kind of reflective and reminiscent jams one would want to hear right now.
The first song on the 12 track album, “Are you Looking?” makes the vulnerability of our raw human emotions evident. The lyrics, “I could stay in this place / I know it so well / there’s comfort in static / and the familiar smell” are very reminiscent of our need to belong and fear for what’s new. However, Tomaine doesn’t shy away from how draining and soul-sucking staying complacent can be, contemplating if it’s worth it to stay still. The slow start with comforting guitar and gentle vocals make you feel like you’re just hanging out with a friend, talking about what’s to come.
Delving further into the album, we pick up an optimistic trend that never shies away from the reality of our difficulties; we also get a sense of someone trying to escape ostracization by holding up a facade that eventually burns out. We hear this most in the track, “Guilt,” as Tomaine sings, “I got some faces I’m keeping warm / and I try them on when it suits me / try to be who you all need.” Keeping up appearances is tough, especially when others need you. This feeling of burnout is noted with the lyrics “But I can’t keep it up / Or I’m not trying hard enough / It’s not a thing you can trust.” Feeling dishonest with ourselves can be one of the more debilitating feelings we face, but we almost don’t notice the message as it’s being thrown in with a hypnotic chord progression that makes you want to get up, sway, and strut all day.
The final track, “Strong,” is a fitting name to end this incredibly enchanting and trance-inducing album. The soft strokes of a twangy guitar melody accompanied by rhythmic drums and other lulling beats pull you in, while soft spoken lyrics recount a story we all know — a battle within ourselves in which we try to pull away from through a metaphoric vice. Tomaine describes this best with when he sings “Now it’s waiting for me / With open jaws / I can only fight it for so long / It wants what it wants”.
There is a clear theme of wanting change and finding where you’re going, but there’s no sugarcoating the difficulties that come with. Tomaine is clear with his disdain for the hardships we encounter in life, but always returns to his slight optimism that is almost contagious. These rhythmic and soothing sounds accompanied with raw and vulnerable lyrics are reminiscent of Pearl Jam’s, “Last Kiss,” a smooth and wonderful resonance with a low-spirited message. The best way to describe Looking would be, a melancholy ride with a friend, full of smooth sounds that makes you want to listen, vent, and start all over again.
ALL PROCEEDS GO TO BLACK LIVES MATTER
Dedicated to late friend, Spencer Spirit Hogans