It is not often an artist steps out of their grave and into the spotlight, but Derek Fudesco is among the few who have made the inspiring journey. Riding in the coat tails of the wave of cracked, off-kilter folk-rock bands that have come to the forefront of the popular music conscience during the new millennium, Fudesco – founding member of frenetic noise purveyors Pretty Girls Make Graves – formed a new vehicle, the Cave Singers, and continued his musical journey.

Stripped back to just a trio, Cave Singers still offer a twisted take on a well established blueprint, but have little else in common with Fudesco's former outfit. Instead, the group now presents a continuation of pastoral American musical heritage. It has deep roots in the sepia tinted memories of a whole generation, using acoustic guitar, gently clattering drums and world-weary vocals to lull listeners into their rural world. While they are not bound to tradition, they certainly respect it, offering a largely acoustic interpretation of distorted version of history made new.

Completed on stage at London's Cargo by Joshua Wells on minimal drums – a snare, bass and cymbal – and Peter Quirk on vocals, the Cave Singers largely rely on a breathless run through of their debut album, 'Invitation Songs', for tonight's set. In sweltering heat and under staring spotlights, it is a wonder the band is able to perform at all, let along with the quiet majesty that has drawn a slightly below sell-out crowd – but they gamely solider forward.

Even after a reputed twelve gin and tonics, Quirk is able to effortlessly unleash the oak filled vocals on which the band's reputation relies; all the more surprising given his (hopefully joking) claim to have snorted gasoline before the show. Although, with the fiddle driven country support act O'Death smirking by the side of the stage, the mirth of this comment is by no means a given. Opening with 'Seeds of the Night' the crowd is silenced in a moment; less in reverence rather than in expectation. Each note is anticipated and savoured, before a quick thank you and laugh lifts the moods.

Running through the album – including 'Cold Eye' and 'Elephant Clouds' – Quirk employs a maraca, a Hohner melodica and occasional electric guitar to flesh out the sounds. In close competition for the spotlight is Fudesco, who fingerpicks and strums his guitar with intimacy and affection, but relays the emotion to the crowd rather than allowing himself to wallow. Picturesque rustic images flow through the crowd – all the more welcome to the London set who may have not seen fresh flowers for months on end – as the Cave Singers build to a crescendo with set closer 'Dancing on Our Graves'. Olympic champions they may not be (you had to be there) but the Cave Singers offer an inviting form of escape to those willing to believe.










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