With the release of Naomi, the fourth album by Seattle-based folk rockers Cave Singers, the group is starting a new era. “We’re just writing different songs,” explains Peter Quirk early on a Monday, still bleary-eyed from the weekend. “I felt that our last album, No Witch, was sort of the end of a trilogy, so we changed the recording process and added a member.” The addition of former Blood Brothers bassist Morgan Henderson proved to be the missing piece in Cave Singers’ creative puzzle, and just listening to Naomi, it’s clear he’s left his fingerprints all over it, in the form of flute and percussion touches in addition to his bass playing.
Quirk, who takes long pauses to parse his words, likes to joke that he named Naomi not after “some girl in North Seattle” but a fictional muse, who guided the group to a somewhat more positive sound on the album, thus earning title credit. From the sparse country-like, almost Dylanish overtones of opener “Canopy” to the tambourine-driven charging closing number “When the World,” Naomi has the sort of depth Cave Singers have long promised since they formed in 2007.
Though the characters in Quirk’s lyrics here are falling apart, ever so gently, the Cave Singers are in a very strong state. “I didn’t even think we’d make a second record, let alone be writing a fourth record,” the frontman says. “We felt pretty free to be able to do something different and new, so we got out there and explored. We didn’t feel tied to anything.”