Cavo – Bridges (Deluxe Edition) (Pavement Entertainment)

Post-grunge St. Louis natives Cavo have released a deluxe edition of their 2016 release, Bridges courtesy of Pavement Entertainment.  Adding two bonus tracks and an alternative version of their 2008 hit, “Champagne“.

From 2001 to 2012, despite a number of line-up changes, Cavo released three full-length albums, toured with some of the biggest names in music (Daughtry, Halestorm, and Stone Temple Pilots, just to name a few), made it to No. 1 on the charts with their single “Champagne“, and had their single “Let It Go” featured in the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  Then in 2012 it all fell apart, the band called it quits, saying they didn’t have anything else to give.   They had tried everything from adding more guitars to trying heavier vocals, but no one in the group believed in what they were doing, so they packed it in and went their separate ways.  Then, a few years later, something happened, the guys slowly started getting the itch again.  It didn’t happen quickly, it was slow. But something had changed, well not something….THEY had changed.  They no longer wanted to cater to what others wanted, they wanted to move forward, but only if it was their way….and ONLY their way.  And their way, well it worked for them, inspired them.  They were able to record over 50 songs and narrowed that down to 12 tracks.   They decided to call the 2016 release Bridges because they felt like they had crossed over to someplace new.  A place where Cavo could just be themselves.

Cavo is not heavy metal, that should be obvious, since I described them as post-grunge in the first sentence, but I thought I would reiterate that.  There isn’t heavy breakdowns, yearning for mosh pits, or gutteral screams anywhere on Bridges…yes, this is a departure from what I typically review.  But a little known fact about me, despite my love of heavy as vibranium (thank you, Black Panther) metal, I absolutely love bands like The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Kings of Leon, and Keane.  I’m also a fan of the grunge era bands Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Alice in Chains.  What Cavo delivers with Bridges is a mix of The Killers and Stone Temple Pilots (Scott Wyland era), so this combination alone made my ear holes perk up as soon as I hit play on the first track, “Nights“.

Nights” begins with the words ‘this song is cool’ and I disagree with that statement…..this song is actually SUPER cool!  It is very poppy, to the point I found myself overhead clapping as though I was at a concert, though sadly I was alone in my office.  You can’t help but sway your body and shimmy your shoulders for the entire 4 minutes, 8 seconds it is playing.  This track is one of my new favorite things in life, I legitimately recommended it to several people in the first 20 seconds of listening to it. Then several more halfway through.  Then I took to social media to broadcast my adoration…seriously, it happened.

The second track, “Just Like We Want It“, is another feel good, move your body, ditty.  It has a bit more funk, I can’t be certain but I think there is a tambourine, and that seriously made my night. As if the possibility of a tambourine isn’t enough, there is even a bit of blues in the bass. “Stay” slows it down a bit, it reminds me of a song that one of the bands performs at our church every so often (sorry if your church is not as cool as ours, but it can be because our church streams their sermons, check it out Kensington Church).   The lyrics, ‘I’ve been dreaming with my eyes wide open, my eyes wide open, yeah.  I’ve been living with my broke heart open, my broke heart open, yeah.’ fills your ears and mind with a sense of calm and serenity.  I realize it is a love song, but it could easily be sung at a church service and that makes it extra special to me, as I also love Christian rock.  There is a choir supporting vocalist Casey Walker during the chorus that gives the track a bigness despite it being a bit slower.  “She Don’t Care” is a bit heavier and is chocked full of blues influenced guitar work by Chris Hobbs.  “On Your Own” is another slow one and again reminds me of something we would hear in church, ‘…..No, you won’t get far on your own. No, you won’t get far all alone. So come on home….’ This track gets me in the feels.  After we’re done at church, we are just going to drop a sick anthem with some thick drum beats from Andy Herrin and heavy guitar licks from Chris Hobbs with “Get Away“….no big deal.

INTERMISSION – Can I just take a second to talk about Casey Walker’s vocals? Of course, I can…I own this company, I can do what I want (yes, I pulled that card).  Casey Walker’s vocals are soothing, soulful, and gorgeous.  He isn’t doing any crazy vocal highs or lows, he isn’t trying to showcase some insane range that no one has ever achieved, though I wouldn’t be surprised if that is in his wheelhouse.  He is just singing from his heart and you feel that passion, that love, in every word.  Which is likely why there are times it reminds me of the feeling I have at church when I feel so connected to God, specifically during a song.  Mr. Walker, you are amazingly talented and if you are a Christian, you should consider collaborating on a Christian album.  Seriously.   Now back to our regularly scheduled review……..

Fight This War” reminds me of Kings of Leon and that makes my heart happy.  The verses are slower but the chorus is a bit more upbeat and poppy.  Oh, “Weather Rolls“, you are so funkin’ awesome.  The guitar riffs between the chorus and verses are so killer, they are heavy and so darn groovy.  Then there’s that funky bass line being laid down by Brian Smith, most bands you sometimes forget there is a bass player (sorry bass players), but you WILL not forget Brian Smith.  “Traitor” is 3 minutes and 38 seconds of alternative rock awesomeness.  “Cynical” is another body mover, head bobbin’ track.  Oh, wait….is there a guitar solo?  Um, yes we have that here too.  But you know what Bridges really needs?  Some organ (the instrument, perverts).  No problemo, “Straight to the Bottom” has some organ.  You know what that organ needs?  Some bass drops.  Yeah, we have that here too.  What doesn’t this track have?  An ounce of suck.  It’s pure awesome.  “Take Me Home” is reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand with that “Take Me Out” peppinessSo much energy, I can’t stop won’t stop….dancing.

We have finally made it to the bonus material of Bridges, but that also means it is almost time for the album to end….*insert sad face*.  My internal dialogue with this dilemma is quite amusing, ‘Me to Me:  But we can always listen to it a thousandth time…Me to Me:  Yes, let’s do that…Me to Me:  Yes, precious, let’s do that.’

Wreck Me” is a so darn good.  It is so melodic and again with the moving of the body.  I have likely burned a lot of calories at this point because I haven’t stopped moving in well over 40 minutes.  And guess what?  “Hush” is another funky one so I’m not done shakin’ what my momma gave me just yet.  This track is completely different than anything else on Bridges but it still fits perfectly.  Although the song lyrics say ‘don’t tell no one’, I have to tell everyone because 1) it is my job and 2) Bridges is really damn good.  Also on this track, Brian Smith I see youWe have finally reached it, the last track on the album, and to quote Nancy Kerrigan, ‘WWWWWWHHHHHYYYYYY?!?!?!’ Until today I had no idea Cavo sang the song “Champagne“, I have no idea who I thought it was but maybe like Theory of a Deadman?  Apparently it was Cavo….and they recorded an alternative version of the track for Bridges.  The old version is a bit heavier during the chorus, as most of us remember, but the new version is much more soulful.  Adding the bluesy guitar riffs and bass, not to mention slowing down the chorus completely changes the track in the best way possible.  *slow clap*

Bridges is my new favorite thing; it is funky, soulful, bluesy, rockin’, and has just enough pop to keep the body moving.  Cavo absolutely knocked it out of the park with this one and if anyone thinks otherwise they are an idiot (sorry, there isn’t a nice way to say that).  The extended edition of Bridges was released on Friday, February 23rd so make sure to grab a copy today.  Bloodrock Rating:  5.0 out of 5.0 axes

Tracklist
1. Nights
2. Just Like We Want It
3. Stay
4. She Don’t Care
5. On Your Own
6. Get Away
7. Fight This War
8. Weather Rolls
9. Traitor
10. Cynical
11. Straight to the Bottom
12. Take Me Home
13. Wreck Me (Bonus Track)
14. Hush (Bonus Track)
15. Champagne (Alt Version)

Lineup
Casey Walker – vocals
Chris Hobbs – guitar
Brian Smith – bass
Andy Herrin – drums

Make sure to check out Cavo here:
https://www.facebook.com/Cavo/
https://twitter.com/cavomusic
https://instagram.com/cavomusic
http://www.cavomusic.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFu4m_FVN6Dn-bBz_rjRx-w

 

Written by April Baggins for Bloodrock Media on February 25, 2018