Accomplish Nothing by Cave Babies
I find myself again setting out on the pleasant task of reviewing the newest album release of one of my kids: This time it’s my son, the band called Cave Babies, and his new album Accomplish Nothing.
Cave Babies is comprised, in total, of a Man (my son) and his Ukulele. They happen to share a high degree of pluck. In the true spirit of DIY, both Man and Ukulele are refreshingly all natural and unembellished. The former wears a full beard; the latter has opted for a smoother look.
When I listen to the twelve songs on the album, it seems to me that they have the rare quality of melodies that had to be written. They are that poignant and inevitable. You see, this is a Man who is even more sensitive than the overstretched strings of his Ukulele. In fact, he’s a true romantic at heart.
The opening track of Accomplish Nothing shows exactly what I mean. “Bad News” is a song with a sweet and memorable melody, both verse and chorus, that is new and different to our ears. Yet there’s something about the tune that is so right that it feels as if it’s been inside of us forever and it only needed to be awakened somehow. Which Cave Babies has done. And done in good voice and adept ukulele strumming. From his meaningful lyrics we learn a lot about the self-doubts and relationships of this Man who awakens melodies. We see his serious side, but there is irony and humor in the way he looks inside himself. (Later on, there is even tongue-in-cheek satire – “Party Till I Bleed”, track 9.) The two succeeding tracks, “Backwards World” and “Sidewalk”, echo this comic but self-effacing blend of music and personal statement.
Cave Babies goes on to take us high and low, sometimes fast (“Move Me”, “Likeable”, “Killing Me Slowly”) and sometimes sadly slow (“Wasted”), on a musical and emotional journey. Loneliness, waste and regret are the predominant features of this stark landscape that passes us by. But there’s still something about the insightful voice and its ukulele sidekick that leaves us with a sense of resilience. It may be that I hear that quality because I know the Man from whom it springs. He does, in fact, give us a fleeting glimpse of this inner strength in “How Can I Be Sad at a Face Like That”, another perfect melody from somewhere deep down.
The climax of the album, perhaps, and the song that chills me most is “Getting Tired”, track 7, and you may want to be sure you read the lyrics on the Bandcamp page to understand the slow and beautiful melody. That sad tune may stay with you for awhile.
The ultimate irony is in Cave Babies’ finale: he humbly predicts it “Unlikely” that he will ever be happy or “be anything at all”. Clearly, his very words and music prove the opposite. In Accomplish Nothing, Cave Babies has accomplished something very special. My prediction is that many more deep melodies will be awakened by this Man’s rare gift of creation.