steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
info opinion

Chris Cacavas

"Bumbling Home From the Star" CD

Normal Records

Genres: indie pop, folk, singer / songwriter

Normal Records
PO Box 150117
53040 Bonn

Aug 27 - Sep 2 2002

Although you may recognize Chris Cacavas from bands like Green on Red and Giant Sand, you'll likely be surprised to know that he has had a long and prolific solo career, releasing many albums on German label Normal (as well as a few on Heyday and Innerstate) under both his own name and with his Junkyard Love backup band. While most North Americans paid little attention to him (even I, admittedly, haven't obtained any of his previous efforts), he has built a strong following in his label's homeland, Germany.

Upon listening to Bumbling Home From The Star, I quickly realized that I should have been paying notice.

This is an amazing album. There, I said it. It's amazing. Cacavas has an astonishing talent for crafting wonderful, downbeat pop songs. "Sucker", for example, is a very hummable track that boasts a powerful, yet eerie, feel to it. The key to its beauty is that Cacavas has mastered both the melody and the atmosphere, producing more than a pop song, but instead a pop sculpture. "I Just Killed A Man", likewise, combines a faultless chorus (check out the throwback to the Doors' "Riders On The Storm") with a moody, dark ambiance that lends the song a wonderful creepiness.

While similarities to Neil Young are obvious (and overdone), Cacavas' music definitely owes something to him. Fortunately, Star also brings in a lot of its own ideas, as well as those of many other influences. Bits of Mercury Rev, Radiohead, and Yo La Tengo are all evident on these songs, many of which make use of guest musicians who contribute trombone, cello, and even extra vocals on some of the tracks. And despite the many instruments and the slick, full-band style production, this album still retains Cacavas' trademark folk-y sound, instead in a much more powerful form.

Occasionally depressing, occasionally reflective, Star has all the makings of a modern pop classic.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 55 min 39 sec; 12 tracks; distributed by Forced Exposure; released 2002]