By John Thomas Staff Writer
The Cave Singers’ new album “Naomi” inspired a lot of mixed opinions within me. The opening track, “Canopy,” was the kind that edges around good, but doesn’t quite exceed the trappings of a John Krasinski film’s soundtrack. This isn’t necessarily an indication of subpar songwriting, but it’s definitely points to the mediocre. After “Canopy” there’s a six songs-long bog that I, as an ethical journalist and critic, was forced to slog through. It had everything from unsettlingly lukewarm beats to lyrics that, while understandable, didn’t really merit any understanding. It felt like an impromptu group jam for a while and called it half an album. The last tune “Shine” was excruciating--it has everything going against it. It’s after a string of already less-than-acceptable songs, and then the musicians had to go and put in a harmonica solo. It sounds halfhearted, and in a song that feigns at optimism that just doesn’t work. After emerging from the sonic bog, things pick up significantly with “Karen’s Car,” which seemed to reach a sense of personal earnestness that none of the previous tracks had been able to hit. It even brings a much more sincere optimism than “Shine.” What really marked the difference between “Karen’s Car” and the previous half of the album was that it finally picked up a little bit. I’m happy to say that the rest of the album continues this positive trend. “Naomi” ends strongly on two tracks that pleasantly finish off the crooked grin that makes up the album. “When the World” is the kind of song I’m not usually down for, that sort that’s all about always being there for your significant other -- one of the lyrics is verbatim “I’ll be your man” -- but I wasn’t too bothered by it because it had a sort of pep that wasn’t grating, and tied up all of the album’s emotional threads well.