Our Sunday Affair - Cave
Record Label: Too Far Gone Records
Release Date: November 18, 2013
Falling in love with Our Sunday Affairs' debut album Cave is quite a bittersweet affair. The noodly emosters have finally seen fit to release a full body of music for the world and already it's time to say goodbye, given the band's recent decision to call it quits. So, before you read the following review and fall in love, as I have, here's a little disclaimer: it's not my fault if you listen to this album thanks to my review and find that your life is now worse off with the knowledge that OSA will never create more music. I accept no responsibility. Suck it up, kid, and write a #emorevival album.
So, to the record. Cave is a 'small emo band' event of sorts. Ever since their debut EP, Smiles From Next Year, the four piece have been creating quite upbeat, lo-fi emo which, despite sparks of brilliance, seems to have been overlooked in spite of the recent success of bands such as Tiny Moving Parts and Foxing. However, while their career may have been a quiet one, Cave is the sound of them going out with a bang. With guest vocals from Evan Lescallette (Marietta) and Ricky Christian (Mallard) and a whole host of exhilarating, sprawling tracks Our Sunday Affairs never fail to surprise.
If one was to give out an award for 'most endearing' album of the year, Our Sunday Affairs would be onto a winner. Through Jake Schwab's off tune, discordant vocals, Tom Weil's late 90s indie rock meets modern emo guitar work and the band's generally sweet, obtuse lyricism, Cave deals in the type of wide eyed youthfulness which fueled the teens of the 90s to take the music of Built To Spill, Weezer and Modest Mouse into their hearts. Indeed, Cave has a lot more in common with Modest Mouse's The Lonesome Crowded West than it does with most of the identikit twinkle daddy bands that have been popping up around everywhere in the last two years. Album highlight “Gaia’s Footsoldiers” is like the nerdy little brother of Desaparecidos’ Read Music, Speak Spanish - filled with stop/start guitars, laid back yet forceful vocals and wonderful, accusatory lyricism. Lines like the excellent “You want poignant lives / and rollercoaster rides/ sticky cotton candy / and the thickest cocaine lines” show an intelligently witty side of Our Sunday Affairs which tends to be lacking from many of the overly earnest bands that have come out of the scene.
Elsewhere, the record is equally interesting. The mid-paced and melancholic opener “Oilhead” is a perfect introduction to the music to follow. Twinkly guitars make way for simplistic riffage and Schwab’s dead pan vocals leave the listener to wonder whether lyrics such as “because I can / because I want to / because there’s no one around to tell me not to” aren’t entirely sincere or have been overcome with teenage apathy. “Woke Up Next To Rows Of Teeth” is another highlight. Once again sharing characteristics with Modest Mouse, it’s a winding, sporadic track, it leaves the listener bouncing in their seat and is straight up fun. Closer, “Happiness On Cooldown (Final Song)” ends the record perfectly, almost acting as a summary for the tracks that have preceded it. Sporadic and sprawling, simultaneously melancholic and fun, it plays out like one final jam session for the band - if a jam session could possibly be that wonderful.
Analysing the album for this review has had the effect of making me even sadder about the demise of Our Sunday Affairs. Cave is a hidden gem in the current emo scene that will, sadly, probably not get the attention it deserves. If you want emo with a little less angst and more wit or you’re an aficionado of 90s indie rock, Our Sunday Affairs’ Cave is the record for you. A late highlight of 2013.