Best Albums of 2009: #20, The Cave Singers' Welcome Joy

Rank: #20
Album: Welcome Joy
Artist: The Cave Singers
Label: Matador

The Cave Singers' second full-length doesn't make a grand statement, so much as it patters through the dew of the early morning. Welcome Joy is relaxed, calm and fairly Dylan-esque (for lack of a better term). Growing on the reserved, pleasant sound established on their initial release, Invitation Songs, the band manages to present a new, fulfilling product, while not changing all that much-- rather, they fine-tune and rework what needs to be, while leaving alone the aesthetics they had already perfected so well.

Quaint and quiet, Welcome Joy seems to fulfill its name to the utmost. Rather than a loud and raucous celebratory entrance, the album exists in a small, confined area of sound that is relaxed in its delivery and whose most daring measure may be the addition of a harmonica on "Leap." Yet, with all that in mind, the album allows the group to soar to new heights. Welcome Joy rolls smoothly, picking up its pace where needed, while presenting a conflicted, yet determined sound. Each song is a selection of emotions, from the introspection of closer "Bramble," to unabashed joy "Vv" and the solemn "Summer Ligtht." Lead singer Pete Quirk's superior delivery enhances each track, and is the driving force behind the muted emotion portrayed throughout one of the most quietly amusing albums of the year.

Best Track: "Vv"

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