I first listened to The Cave Singers' new album, Welcome Joy, while cooking dinner, paying little attention to the lyrics. My initial thought was "Yes! Roadtrip music!", and that open, forward-moving, dappled-sun-and-shadow feel carries through the whole album. Turns out, the first song, "Summer Light," is actually about a road trip. I like that: When an album's sound and lyrics compliment each other so well, you know what they're singing about without hearing the words.
Based in Seattle, this trio of folksters allows only a hint of their punk background to come through, but that little bit of angst sets them apart from more traditional, softer folk artists. The band's acoustic music is spare, melodic, and refreshingly straightforward, and the lyrics are clever and contemplative without being pretentious. Nothing about it is revolutionary or radical, but therein lies their charm; with Pete Quirk's Arlo Guthrie-esque voice and Derek Fudesco's finger-picked guitar, simple tunes like "Townships" or the joyous, train-rhythmed "Leap" sound familiar and well-loved on the first listen.
Next time you hear the open road calling, make sure this album finds a place among your tried-and-true travel albums. It'll fit right in.