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The Cave Singers

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Those Seattle indie-rockers sure are an incestuous bunch, ain't they? Swapping singers here, sharing keyboardists there. Consider the tangled genealogy of this Emerald City folk-rock trio, founded two years ago by guitarist-bassist Derek Fudesco when his old band, the much-admired Pretty Girls Make Graves, dissolved at the seeming height of their art-punk popularity. In need of a vocalist and drummer, Fudesco swiped Pete Quirk and Marty Lund from cross-town colleagues Hint Hint and Cobra High, respectively. Meanwhile, PGMG ivory-tickler Leona Marrs crawled in bed with Quirk's old band (her old band, too, actually, since that's where she started before joining PGMG). See? It's just all so naughty. Maybe that explains why Fudesco — long a neo-punk abstractionist — has reinvented himself as a porch-stomping folk soul-daddy. For the purity — dig? And it must be said: Fudesco picks and strums his heart out in The Cave Singers' second album, Welcome Joy, from the raw, rising ecstasy of "Leap" to the lilting nostalgia of "Beach House." Quirk, the singer, proves apt as a collaborator; with his anguished nasal tones, he sounds a little like James Blunt with a mild sinus infection. Which is a lot better, you'll agree, than James Blunt without one.

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