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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Jul 7th, 2016

Caveman: Otero War

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Otero War
(Cinematic Music Group)

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With Otero War, Brooklyn’s own Caveman has provided a rock album that is the perfect soundtrack to summer. Lead track “Never Going Back” has the elements of an earworm: a beat that’s easy to dance to, vintage-sounding synth, a cool guitar solo, and a line to sing along to that leaves responsibility in the dust (“ooo, never going back again”).

Luckily, the rest of the record holds up to the strength of this auspicious start. While keyboards have a tendency to lead the instrumentation, there’s plenty of room for big guitar riffs to walk the line between pop and indie. “The State of Mind” features gorgeous strings to offset frontman Matthew Iwanusa’s delicate vocals. “Won’t you care at all?” he belts, followed by a subdued, almost resigned, “No.” This song is the emotional glue to hold together the songs of longing and strife.

Directly from here, we have futuristic keyboards on “80 West.” The actual song has a retro rock vibe with guitar that would make fellow New Yorkers Interpol proud. “I really never thought you would believe someone who’s been down all of the time.” “Human” is pure vintage pop with an R&B beat. This sounds like it wouldn’t mesh well with closing track “I Need You in My Life,” with churning guitar and sound effects that are more science fiction than MTV, but everything holds together somehow. Iwanusa’s earnest vocal delivery and the constant presence of keys helps to make the record flow. Whatever your mood, if you find yourself on a roadtrip this summer, there’s a song here to augment the moment.

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Caveman: Otero War