Cayetana - New Kind of Normal

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:8 Release Date:2017-05-05

Cayetana, a three piece out of Philadelphia who formed six years ago, play an addictive blend of punk, grunge, pop, and garage. Their latest New Kind of Normal also happens to be the debut album on their own label, Plum Records. Taking the self-made concept coursing through the music world to a new level, ownership of the label allows the band total autonomy to decide how they want to present their music. In this era of music, such a thing isn’t so shocking, but it does show just how expansive the world of music making has become.

Lyrically, the album seems to target self-image and how that affects relationships. Some of the songs veer a bit too close to boilerplate break-up songs, but there is enough intelligence in the lyrics to leave open the potential for something more profound. Additionally, singer/guitarist Augusta Koch pushes a theme of empowerment and fuck-all attitude that works on an anthemic level.

On “Bus Stop” she powerfully asserts, “And I hope that you realize that I was born strong, like the ones that made me. And I was made tough by the one that raised me.” On “Too Old For This,” she laments the old chestnut to “write what you know,” by shouting, “And I don’t want to think about this or you anymore!” Christ, if I had a dime for every time I’ve shouted that into the void.

The line blurs some between self-esteem and mental health, as in opener “Am I Dead Yet?” when she deadpans, “Is there a way out of this?” before letting loose a beautifully succinct three note repeating riff. On “Easy to Love” she expresses the self-doubt and self-effacement of falling in love, asking, “Are we only as good as our worst? Maybe you will find someone easier to love.”

On the obvious single, “Mesa,” the pieces come together gorgeously with a chugging rhythm, and accents from Anka and Olsen that flush out the sound. The sing-a-long chorus, “We can only hurt ourselves so long. We can only hurt each other till it all goes wrong,” is the cherry on top that makes this an utterly irresistible song.

One of the recurring joys of listening to this album is that the band adheres to the notion that a three-piece should have no weak components. Bassist Allegra Anka infuses each song with bass lines that mirror guitar leads, adding perfect depth while drummer Kelly Olsen mixes in shuffles, cymbal crashes, and pounding beats to keep the bottom not only solid but also fresh and unique.

After a trio of EPs and one full-length album, the band’s decision to start their own label has put Cayetana in a position to not only further their career, but also those they sign to the label. If they’re going to be the label leaders, this solid album is a great way to attract others.

 

 

 

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