Thanksgiving Cave Days and Moments

[Marriage; 2006]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: free-folk, indie folk, lo-fi
Others: Mount Eerie/The Microphones, Will Oldham, Little Wings

The tale of Adrian Orange is one of young triumph. At age 16, Orange released his first album unto the world. In the four years since his debut, we've been privy to an extensive collection of LPs, CDs, and cassettes that rival Adrian's mentor and friend Phil Elverum. Now comes Adrian's latest offering under the Thanksgiving banner: Cave Days and Moments.

Unlike what the title implies, this is not a recording devoid of influence, substance, or exposure to the outer world. Quite the contrary — Cave Days and Moments is the farthest reaching album of Orange's canon (surpassing the epic, self-titled triple LP). Mixing heavy riffs alongside light acoustic melodies, Orange has culled the best of both worlds. The muffled carnage of "Caves" is able to play nicely with the sweet-intentioned "Days of Hiding." "Caves" is a ground-and-pound fighter, never letting up with a relentless attack of bass and fuzz, whereas "Days of Hiding" chooses to pick you up from the ground with a bouncy piano melody and hushed guitar strums. This pattern is repeated often throughout Cave Days and Moments, yet it never grows tiresome or becomes weak. The point/counterpoint theme keeps each song honest. By itself, "(You Belong to the) Blood" would just be a simplistic shuffle of heavy bass drum and brooding guitars, but coupled with the earnest "The Old Graveyard," each track feeds off the other. The lightheartedness of "(You Belong to the) Blood" is allowed to shine through upon repeat listens, while "The Old Graveyard" takes on some of the forlorn qualities of its predecessor. The quaint ease of "(Flickering) Candles" and "Come on New World" would fail to hit the mark without the mangled mess of "Leave Me Alone."

Adrian's gift has always been the ability to couple the sounds of a comforting shoulder with those of an unnerving voice. Cave Days and Moments is no different — it chooses to chastise your mistakes, but its tight embrace shows forgiveness and acceptance. If ever an album were both a stern parent and an uplifting friend, this would be it. The music reflects true personal emotion without feeling closed off from the world in which it was birthed. Cave Days and Moments will never be a Top 20 smash, but it's not far off from the days ruled by thinking musicians with a finger on the pulse of the underbelly.

1. Days of Hiding
2. Come on New World
3. Leave Me Alone
4. You Will Find Me
5. Caves
6. Holy Dawns of String
7. Days
8. (Fleeting) Moments
9. (Flickering) Candles
10. (You Belong to the) Blood
11. The Old Graveyard
12. We'll Die