taken from the This Summer EP, released June 11 2012
Caged Animals’ This Summer EP was recorded contemporaneous 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.”
“Burnt Butterfly,” with it’s scuzzy island feel, sets our heroes, in all their anemic glory, against the power of a Caribbean sun. A cheap organ beat pushed to it’s quickest setting sputters forward as Caged Animals convene for a demented romp through a Studio One propagated with demonic theremins, slide guitars, a pitched-shifted choir, and lots of echo. Is a burnt butterfly just a kid from Jersey who forgot his SPF 50?
On “She Oughta Be In Malibu,” Caged Animals pay a wry tribute to a So-Cal babe with “hair of gold and skin so tan,” a girl who can see the future in the glare of her own Ray Bans. Musically owing equal amounts to “Kokomo” and “Can’t Hear My Eyes,” Cacchione rhapsodizes, with an almost Richman-esque flare, about an off-kilter American beauty who can “take the sun and turn it black and blue,” and appears to be lost in the wrong part of The City of Angels: “She’s Downtown in this hole with me / but she oughta be in Malibu.”
“I Will Take My Own Hand” expands upon the tropical motifs of “Burnt Butterfly” with slinky electric guitars, a plaintive organ, and a tune that can only be classified as an inverse love-song, momentarily nodding to Jamaican toasting in the vocal of its middle-eight.
On its final track, This Summer takes it’s most audacious turn with “^ ^ & Away,” 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