Caveman – Coco Beware (Fat Possum)

Caveman have been described as ‘dad rock’, and while it’s true that their on-trend brand of indie folk-rock would appeal to many dads, their debut album, Coco Beware, will delight a much broader demographic. The woozy and mysterious New York five-piece would be a treat for anyone to experience live, preferably with a haze of blue lights and red wine enhancing their dreamy, escapist sound.

Lead singer Matt Iwanusa grew up playing drums, and now plays percussion live and on this album. Opening track A Country’s King Of Dreams begins with thick thwacks reverberating in an empty space before the shimmering synth, wistful guitar and Iwanusa’s pure vocals join the party.

The next two tracks, Decide and My Time, are faster and both evoke a Beach Boys vibe with their bittersweet vocal harmonies. Vampirer is a silky, synthy, unexpectedly industrial instrumental that segues into Old Friend, a sweet pop song with an exploitation film soundtrack outro. December 28th combines harmonies with the kind of ancestral drumming that stirs the dormant caveman within, Easy Water shimmies along like a seductive naiad, and The Monkees meet Band of Horses on Thankful.

It can be hard to make out what Iwanusa’s singing about over all that reverb, but tone seems more important to this band than lyrics. On Great Life the words are restricted to “great life to live, it’s all you have to give, they say it’s alright it’s alright”. Caveman’s ability to imbue such simple lyrics with a sense of the profound is a rare gift, and perhaps one of the most precious mysteries of music.

Kathryn van Beek

Click here to listen to A Country’s King Of Dreams from Coco Beware