Before the music review starts, I wanted to draw your attention to the album cover at the top of this page. One of the delights of Cagey House aka Dave Keifer’s releases are the album covers. This is due to artist Brandi Strickland (http://brandistrickland.com/) as she has been making Cagey House album covers for a few years now. What I find wonderful about these album covers is how they go along so well with Cagey House’s music.
I am a proponent that music can be listened to anywhere and anyhow. This is not as an odd as a statement given the number of musicians who say, “Only listen to my music on high-end audio equipment,” “Must use headphones to listen to,” “Don’t convert to MP3,” “Great music to fall asleep to,” etc. That all said and remembering I love music everywhere and anytime, a great time and place to listen to Cagey House’s Sometimes Always Never would be during Sunday brunch, especially with friends who may not have as an adventurous taste in music as you do.
“Airshaft Grains” opens up Cagey House’s Sometimes Always Never placing you directly into the early hours of a piano bar, customers are straggling in, there’s a guy at the bar who has been drinking since lunch (he may or may not be passed out, it’s hard to tell), and the piano player and drummer are just loosening up. As with most Cagey House records, there is a mood of an album that is ingrained with each track, this time it is a saturation of tenderness. “Airshaft Grains” accomplishes this.
“Number 3 Removal” is, of course, the second track. Its guitar loop with a recorder or flute coming in from behind is a beautiful track. But it’s still a Cagey House track, so things are always a little off center, a little askew, and this starts around the 90 second mark.
In “Bebe Dreams (with Batteries)”, things start to get Cagey House weird but it’s tempered with the jazzy drum we heard in the first track. “Walrus and Eric” continues with the strangeness, but the ambiance has already been set in Sometimes Always Never and Cagey House keeps the track soothing with its sad piano even with the loops of noise and vocals about a sea lion are definitely out there.
I don’t know if Dave Keifer lives “JF on the Stoop” lives in the Baltimore City, but I will imagine he does as sitting on the stoop is a Baltimore tradition, just read some Anne Tyler novels. “JF on the Stoop” is a late-evening cigarette while sitting on your front steps watching the silence of your city street. The bells on “Tin Can Lotus” along with the wah-wah-ish sound and the drums at the end give this track a lovely meditative feel.
If you had zoned out during the previous, “Mother Light” does two things. First, it’s opening drum beat will startle you a touch and the second is that this track is probably the most Cagey House track of the album. “She Found Him in 22”, the final entry to the album is a bit sugary, but it fits wonderfully with the rest of the album.
Cagey House’s Sometimes Always Never is very chill release, but it is still cagey.