“They say no news is good news,” sing The Caves, and given the six-year gap between the Kansas City, Mo., band’s loose formation and the release of its first record, Duplexiaville, maybe they’re right.
The Caves find its players abandoning their earlier ties to harder rock, instead spending their lengthy off-season honing sweet harmonies, subtle instrumentation and an intent focus on highlighting vocalist/guitarist Andrew Ashby’s gentle pop songs.
According to bassist David Gaumé, Duplexiaville possesses “no rock moves.”
Originally, The Caves was a solo singer-songwriter setup for Ashby, but the 2006 addition of Gaumé and drummer Jake Cardwell saw the band start to take shape. The later inclusion of percussionist and vocalist Elizabeth Bohannon marked the beginning of a new era.
For a while, they spent their time “playing slow songs quietly to empty rooms,” but Bohannon’s voice “brought a brightness to the sound, and we started taking the group more seriously,” Gaumé said.
The fizzling of the members’ other projects, as well as newly added multi-instrumentalist John Bersuch, brought The Caves catalog to where it currently stands.
“We’ve been through enough songs to make more than a full-length, but we’re picky and patient people,” Gaumé said. “We’ve all made records in the past with songs that make us cringe, so we wanted this one to be something we could really get behind, top to bottom.”
While the majority of Duplexiaville’s tracks are recent incarnations, the oldest dates back to the group’s formative years.
“We didn’t mean to take so long to make it,” said Gaumé, by day a sound engineer who’s toured with Okies like Starlight Mints, Evangelicals and Other Lives. “I’m the recorder and mixer, too, and anyone who has recorded their own band understands how hard it can be to let go and call it good.”
But it is finished, finally, and the album was released yesterday. The Caves play Saturday at Opolis in Norman, with support from Stillwater’s Brother Bear.
The path from dormancy to a flurry of Caves-centric activity has been mostly an easy one, due in no small part to the tightly knit music community — in the title-referenced duplex and beyond — in which they reside.
“Kansas City has always set itself apart to me in the way that bands support each other. It’s not cliquey or competitive,” Gaumé said. “You see people who play very different styles out supporting each other. There’s also a great network of people who do a lot to help KC bands get on the road, get health insurance, and reach wider audiences.”