Naked Friends

Artist: Cabinessence

Produced by: Spark & Shine

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            The band known as Cabinessence hails from Willamette Valley, Oregon and features Nathan Maricle and Jacob Arnold on lead vocals, multi-instramentalist David Pulliam, Tim Coulter on bass and Mike Ronne on drums.  The band’s name is an homage to a song written by Brian Wilson for the Beach Boys, a rather interesting choice for a band name.  Cabinessence’s debut album, Comes Back to You, got them on Magnet Magazine’s Bands to Watch list.  There new album, Naked Friends, is their first release on the Spark & Shine record label.

            Cabinessence has a rather unique sound - country meets psychedelic rock in what the band likes to call space-hippie country, what I consider a brilliantly accurate description.  Naked Friends contains music which will bring you back to the late ‘60s/early ‘70s when psychedelic guitar riffs and synthesizers were all the rage. 

            One wouldn’t think that country music would mix in well with psychedelica, but Cabinessence makes it sound as if the two styles always belonged together.  What sounds strange at first becomes completely acceptable as a new and inventive music style.  The members of the band harmonize with one another well, creating a pleasing vocal styling to go along with the unique musical sound.  Unfortunately, the lyrics of Naked Friends are not quite as decipherable as I would like them to be.

            Actually, my favorite tracks on the Naked Friends album are those which contain no lyrics at all.  Instrumental No. 2 features an old style sort of honkytonk country feel with a psychedelic keyboard added in for effect.  The song has a dreamy effect that seems just a tad bit short, but is incredibly relaxing.  Ruby’s Moon Elevator begins with the laughter of several young children followed by a south of the border style sound mixed in with that ever present psychedelic styling that makes the band’s sound so unique.

            While I enjoyed the uniqueness of Cabinessence’s sound, I think they still have a ways to go before they can be a national success story and I probably wouldn‘t buy their album after this one listen.  I agree with Magnet Magazine’s perception that this is a band to watch and in years to come, I believe that maturity will make the Cabinessence name to the forefront.  Right now, they are fun to listen to, but not very deep lyrically and thus are more enjoyable as an instrumental band.  In this day and age when television is looking for unique sounding bands to spice up television series, this very well may be the venue Cabinessence should market their Naked Friends material to.  I’m afraid that but for two instrumental tracks, Naked Friends was not an album I would recommend purchasing.


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