January 26, 2016 Cavo – Bridges (Album Review)
St. Louis, Missouri based Cavo’s name derives from Italian, meaning hollow, although the band is far from so. Formed over fifteen years ago, in 2002, the band released their debut EP, A Space to Fill, and their debut full-length, The Painful Art of Letting Go, in 2006. Garnering deserved attention, by 2009 they were signed up with major label Reprise and had their first charted album, entitled Bright Nights Dark Days. Spending the Summer of 2009 on Crüe Fest, Cavo, soon after, opened for Daughtry and Lifehouse in 2010, before embarking on their first ever headlining tour. In enough words, things were good for this hardworking band. Their success continued in 2012 when they released Thick as Thieves via new label Eleven Seven, and again, had a charted record. Then, following support of Thick as Thieves, including a stint on the Carnival of Madness Tour, to many in the mainstream, Cavo all but disappeared.
Thankfully, Cavo is alive and well, and in the Fall of 2015, it was announced they set to release their brand new album, entitled Bridges in January of 2016. Going the Independent route this time, Bridges will be released on the 29th with a special hometown show at The Ready Room. Now, everyone waits to hear what has transpired with these musicians in the four years it took to produce this new album. They nearly did not make it at all, and left it on the preverbal shelf, while their collective and singular creativities marinated. Now it is time to hear what Casey Walker (vocals), Brian Smith (bass/vocals), Chris Hobbs (guitar/vocals), and Andy Herrin (drums) have come up with.
Starting with “Nights,” the Heavy Metal drums, and guitar to match, are on the road to their heavy material. The lyrics, “If it’s war you want, its war you’ll get……I know when it’s time to go…..Lay your money down,” shows their intensity. On “Just Like We Want It,” the beat slows down a bit with pronounced drums and a totally in-sync lead guitar and bass. Lyrics that are true and relatable, “I really don’t want to let things go too far, I watched it change from good to bad; I really don’t want to make it hard, but things are changing way too fast,” show that this band can have Metal sounds with emotional lyrics that touch the listener. Then there is “Stay,” which has honest lyrics, a catchy, melodic beat, and good, strong percussion. The words, “I’ve been dreaming with my eyes wide open, yeah, I’ve been living with my heart broke open, yeah,” tells Cavo’s fans they do feel and hurt like the rest of us. Thus, this accessible song was a good choice for Bridges’ lead single released back in December.
Moving along, “She Don’t Care” has a heavy Rock beat with fast-paced, strong drums and guitar, as well as a heavy bass. The excellent riffs throughout make it memorable while the lyrical line, “I love the way you let the silence take control” has a good intent on how the song progresses to an emotional feel. Meanwhile, “On Your Own” is the only song on the album that has a real ’80s ballad feel and sound. Starting out slow with a really beautiful melody, it picks up the pace with the lead vocals allowing us to feel his pain through the music and lyrics. It ends with only acoustic guitar and voice emphasizing the emotions of the song, making it very effective. Then the cut “Get Away” is a typical ’80s Rock band sound, similar to “Cherry Pie,” by Warrant. Regardless, that ’80s beat, heavy drums, bass, and lead solos, make it a tribute to a time of great, classic, Heavy Metal groups that deserve the attention once again. The influences from the ’80s cannot be denied by Cavo, and that is nothing to deny. Great music deserves a new foundation to stand once again, in a new light.
The song “Fight This War” has a simple, easy beat, as previous tracks, with moody, thoughtful lyrics, “I’ll fight this war to bring you home, When we couldn’t find the words to say, Nothing seems to go your way,………The stains we leave are shadows on the ground.” More than halfway through Bridges, “Weather Rolls” has a retro beginning with some added electricity to it, as well as some cool guitar play that jams on to a full Metal feel and sound. Walker’s voice here is similar to most ’80s bands, like Poison, Def Leppard, AC/DC, and Warrant, but with a bit more emphasis on the feeling part. Coming on with some excellent guitar work is “Traitor,” which really emphasis the whole feel of the song. Combine that with heavy, fast-paced drums and great lyrics and there is a good Metal song. With the words, “This world is a lie that nobody believes, Everything’s changing inside of me, I need a savior, savior” just demonstrates how this track can make the listener grasp unto the meaning without realizing it, as the music carries them away. Similar, “Cynical” has the same effect and carries it a bit further as it repeats the last words of many lines to again, emphasis the emotional content with, “You’re so cynical, You need to find a way, Show me a line and I’ll show you a vein, Open your mind and I’ll do the same.” These are lyrics that stick with the listener and uses words quite creatively.
With only two tracks left, “Straight to the Bottom” has a great, strong percussion, along with a truly melodic guitar and sound which only accentuates the feel of the lyrics, “Another one down, Let’s take another one down…….Go straight to the bottom…….We won’t let go.” Lastly, “Take Me Home” uses the repeat words of lines that emphasis the meaning again, but in a more needed fashion, as if the vocals are begging the listener to please get it, understand what he is going through, and we do; “I wish I’d never know, I wish you’d take me home….Brightest star disappeared outside a broken window, The rain came down, I sit in silence without a sound.” Accompanied by perfectly synced guitar and drums to the pace of the lyrics, this song is a real pleasure to listen to. The steady drum beat and wailing guitar is still our friend, the ’80s revisited by a foursome of musicians who bring it back to life while injecting originality and some good ol’ Missouri truth.
To say that Cavo’s time off was a true transformation, would be incorrect. Instead, Cavo did the unthinkable; they created music they wanted and felt had to be heard. With no label, no producer, and no manager, they also had no interference to create. Lead Vocalist Casey Walker states, “This record is completely ours; 100% Cavo.” He goes on to state that, “If you like it, great; if you don’t, that’s fine too.” A true band of resistance to the outside influences, this is a more sentimental LP than the past works of Cavo, but still hard thrashing and full of Metal sounds, beats, and influence from some of their past creations. One can still hear the ’80s encrypted in their lyrics and beats, but somehow, Cavo makes it their own. The title Bridges can be looked at as a metaphor for their crossing over to the other side; the side to independence in creating music they truly feel and believe in. Produced by Matt Noveskey, from Blue October fame, it has wonderfully memorable hooks and great Hard Rock/Alternative Rock sounds.
There are numerous ways to define Cavo’s new album release, Bridges, but the simplest definition fits it fine; a group of fine musicians took a break from the voices of the outside and listened to those generated from their heart and soul. This combination of energy, style, musical prowess, and reminders that good Rock and Roll never fades, all adds up to Bridges. It was a brave act to take a break from creating, stick to their beliefs, and listen only to themselves on how to create these twelve songs that take us across a bridge to freedom. Freedom of creativity, so insanely difficult to achieve in this harrowing business called the music industry. No matter what genre of music you label Cavo and their new release Bridges, it is damn good music. CrypticRock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.