Pageant Archive: Cavo Review

Note: Originally Published with PageantZine.Net. All rights retained.

Album: Bright Nights Dark Days
Band: Cavo
Label: Reprise Records, 2009
Reviewer: Shauna Brock

Track Listing:
01 Champagne
02 Crash
03 Let It Go
04 Cry Wolf
05 Ghost
06 Blame
07 My Little Secret
08 Beautiful
09 We All Fall Down
10 Over Again
11 Useless

 

If Matchbox Twenty and Rev Theory had a baby, they would name it Cavo. It would be a baby with a “Been there, done that, rebelled in high school” edge to its clear tenor voice, a strong (if slightly predictable) rhythm section, and original spins on guitar licks we’ve all heard a million times since Jimmy Page changed the face of music.

I wish I could say something bad about Bright Nights Dark Days, Cavo’s major-label debut album. I want to say something terrible. I can’t. I want to comment on how on first listen it feels interchangeable with the countless other bands that are taking over radio at the moment. I want to mention that it suffers from the same over-processed track layering that affects all radio-ready bands. I should point out that Cavo will be just as comfortable on alternative stations as they will rock and even mainstream stations, but all of that comes back to why I can’t say anything bad about this album. Why? Because there is something about how Cavo delivers the goods that makes the whole package work.

 

The truth? Bright Nights Dark Days is the very definition of mainstream rock. There is nothing overly poetic about any of the lyrics, and the musicianship is solid, but average. But that’s okay. Cavo is not trying to be anything they aren’t. They are not seeking to take over the world with blow-your-mind lyrics or crazy instrumentals. They are four dudes who clearly love to get together and play and what comes out of their work together is good and comfortable.

 

From the opening song, “Champagne”, through to the end of the CD, there isn’t any song that isn’t worth at least a repeat listen. Lead singer Casey Walker brings a tainted innocence to each song, so much so that his voice alone makes them an interesting listen. In addition, I think it helps that it is clear that Cavo is not a group of eighteen year old kids who managed to land a good break. In the liner notes, they are thankful of their wives, their kids, and the path that brought them to their place in the world.

 

Not all songs on the album are written by Cavo and the ones that aren’t are the weaker songs. Again, proof that musicians do best when they are able to explore their own style and not be forced into a mold meant for others. Standouts on the album are the first single, “Champagne,” along with the touching “Let it Go,” and the haunting “Cry Wolf.” But even though those songs come early on the album, the closers Over Again and Useless are as strong as the rest of the collection.

 

So it is worth it? Every last penny. If this is the first step Cavo is showing the world, then the rest of the journey is going to be a lot of fun. Personally, I am looking forward to it.

 

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