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Cave Singers: Darkly Haunting, Warmly Familiar

The Cave Singers' rootsy pop music is bound to inspire comparisons to the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early '60s. But while it's easy to liken Pete Quirk's nasal tone and breathy delivery to that of Bob Dylan, the trio doesn't just rely on folk nostalgia. Instead, its aptly titled Invitation Songs updates that sound with an indie-rock backbone, in the process presenting dark, haunting, warmly familiar songs.

In the opening strains of the strummy "Seeds of Night," the trio triggers the mood of both rustic Appalachian mountain settings and stylish basement coffeehouses in New York. Tempering the song with a bit of bleary-eyed sadness, Quirk's sparse lyrics convey a lot with very little. His dreamy, melancholy words — "Oooh, thinking of heaven / Thinking it's nice / Oooh, thinking of heaven / Maybe next time" — nicely balance out his whimpers, wails and howls.

Still, "Seeds of Night" is no depressing dirge. Driven by Marty Lund's steady, train-like drum pattern and Derek Fudesco's spidery low-end guitar line, the song operates with lively forward momentum. Even in the song's breakdown midway through, Lund and Fudesco churn through with loose strumming and inspired brushes of the snare. The end result feels delicate and ragged — a hypnotizing take on a classic sound.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Mike Katzif