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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - The Blind King

eclectic reviews and opinions

The Blind King (with Vinyl Skyway)

29 Dec 2004

The Lizard Lounge (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

The Lizard is packed tight for this benefit for the Shattuck Shelter, a Jamaica Plain-based organization that provides a wide range of services to combat homelessness. I squeeze in past masses of donated clothing just in time to see Vinyl Skyway's set. They serve up a fine batch of indie pop-rock with a little alt-country seasoning (especially when lead guitarist Andy Santospago switches to lap steel). Frontman Michael Hayes (Lemonpeeler) has a strong, flexible voice with a pleasantly grainy tone and a well-trained high register; his songs tend toward pleasant melodies, minor keys, and thoughtful lyrics. Kelly Ann McCann's harmonies are a perfect complement, and the rhythm section---stand-up bass and a modest trap kit---is solid and tasteful. At the end of the set, Hayes reports on the flashiest contribution of the evening, a Fender Telecaster auction, the proceeds of which will benefit the shelter.

The ranks of The Blind King have swelled to eight: Josh Boughey's acoustic guitar and voice are supplemented by harmony vocals, bass, (minimalist) drums, accordion, electric guitar, trumpet, and Andy Santospago (pulling double duty tonight) on the proverbial kitchen sink, which includes 6-string electric, lap steel, mandolin, and theremin. Boughey's songs have stately tempos and simple harmonic structures which leave plenty of space for each member to play in without crowding. No one overplays, so it doesn't turn into a sea of mud, but many of my favorite moments come when melody lines on different instruments almost fuse into new hybrids -- anyone for trumpordian? Drummer Ned Armsby is fairly new to the lineup, but his presence transforms the band, defining the pulse more sharply and adding texture without overwhelming the hazy, melancholic mood.

(This review originally appeared in The Noise.)

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