Caged Animals' This Summer EP was recorded contemporaneously with the band's Autumn 2011 debut, Eat Their Own. Where Eat Their Own dealt liberally in off-kilter but warmhearted reinterpretations of classic pop structures, This Summer lends its glare to a more Gothic July.
With sonic nods to the surf, title track "This Summer I'll Make It Up To You," thrashes into a romantic vision of Summer imagined but never lived. Cacchione trades in hopeful couplets, promising to take the song's subject to an idealized West Coast "where the sun is always shining," a terminally East Coast perspective on the California Dream. In its final verse, the narrator of Cacchione's fraudulent summer begins to see through his own lie, realizing this ideal impossible and resigning himself and his lover to a trip "to the Jersey shore, if nothing better works out."
The remaining tracks are equally, beautifully vivid, though in their own singular ways. "Burnt Butterfly", with its scuzzy island feel, is a gloriously demented romp through a Studio One propagated with demonic Theremins, slide guitars, a pitch-shifted choir and lots of echo, while "She Oughta Be in Malibu" is a wry tribute to a So-Cal babe which owes as much to Beach Boys' "Kokomo" as it does to Jonathan Richman. "I Will Take My Own Hand" expands upon the recurring tropical motifs with a nod to Jamaican toasting in the vocal of its middle-eight, while the final track "^ ^ & Away," is a down-tempo exploration of the warmer months, pitch-shifted and sung from a child's perspective. While the lyrics address a feathered imaginary friend that appears at the child's bedside, the music flies its kite with a more carefree spirit, evoking the endless freedom of a summer spent between single-digit grade-levels.
While the band will spend their Summer at work on a second LP, they certainly hope yours will include at least one trip to the Jersey Shore, whether it is guided by GPS or mp3.
1. This Summer I'll Make It Up To You
2. Burnt Butterfly
3. She Oughta Be In Malibu
4. I Will Take My Own Hand
5. ^^ & Away
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.