THE CAVE SINGERS & r & Invitation Songs & r & 3 Stars & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & he tracks on the folk-y debut Invitation Songs by Seattle three-piece the Cave Singers are remarkably level. Rhythmic repetitive guitars settle neatly with mid-tempo drums. Even though lead singer Pete Quirk's voice is a nasal warble -- and the most distinctive sound on the album -- he sings within a limited range, lending consistency to songs like the finger-tapping "Dancing on Our Graves."
While steadiness makes for a good album, it keeps Invitation Songs from being, well, great. Opening track "Seeds of Night" feels like it builds toward something -- an instrumental crescendo or vocal release, for example -- that never comes.
It's a mild letdown, but one intensified by the knowledge that bass player Derek Fudesco was a founding member of two high-energy, experimental bands: Murder City Devils and Pretty Girls Make Graves. Maybe the Cave Singers just need a little more time to find that release we're still waiting for.
-- PAIGE RICHMOND
DOWNLOAD: "Cold Eye"
Hands Across the Void
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & D & lt;/span & isplaying a consistently chilled attitude, Tiny Vipers opens its record by grafting emotional simplicity onto its minimalist approach. Tiny Vipers is the nom de emote of Jesy Fortino, an acoustic singer/songwriter with a haunting prowl in her smoky staccato. Her simple minor-scale guitar lines complicate grave rhythms into a complete composition. "Forest on Fire" adds noise to the backdrop of a single perpetual chord and a considerable amount of shoe-gazing. Then the album glides into the optimistic "Shipwreck" ("We know that life is beautiful / though surreal at times") before directly addressing Fortino's loneliness in comparison to others' solitude (though only as a kind of transitional phase she's going through). The album hits a climax with the powerful "Swastika" and then combines each song's distinct feeling into "The Downward." It's an appropriate conclusion to a chilled-out album.
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.