The Cactus Blossoms - Easy Way - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Cactus Blossoms - Easy Way

by James Weiskittel Rating:7 Release Date:2019-03-01
Cactus Blossoms - Easy Way
Cactus Blossoms - Easy Way

Three years is, mathematically speaking, simply three years. But when it comes to silly things like artists and careers, three years can sometimes feel like a lifetime or a blink of an eye. In the case of the Minneapolis-based retro-rockers Cactus Blossoms, three years is about how long it took for the duo to tour with Grammy-winner Kacey Musgraves, write with man-of-the-hour Dan Auerbach, appear on the widely-acclaimed Twin Peaks revival, and somehow find a little time along the way to record their second LP, Easy Way.

Brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum, who originally operated as a duo before adding another member of their family (Tyler Burkum), decided to take over the production reigns for their sophomore release, a decision that ultimately pays off in spades as Easy Way immediately evokes a more intimate vibe than its glossed-up predecessor.

Picking up right where their debut left off, the infectious opener “Desperado” immediately places Torrey and Burkum’s impeccable harmonies front and center. The song is a perfect encapsulation of everything the Cactus Blossoms are all about: jangly guitars, muted drums, and heart-on-the-sleeve, sepia-tinged lyrics (“I’m just a desperado, down by Mexico, you’re the only one who brings me home”). Sure, you’ve heard it all before, but somehow, be it the sincerity of the performances, or the obvious tone of reverence in the songs, it works.

While much of Easy Way dutifully channels a yesterday’s sun-drenched AM radio-vibe, there are a handful of surprises this time around as well. “Please Don’t Call Me Crazy” rides a T-Rex-sized riff to great effect, while the title track is a slow-dance waltz that effectively evokes shades of Neil Young’s harvest while revealing some of the duo’s best vocal work to date. Meanwhile, the Dan Auerbach co-write “Got a Lotta Love” is a night-drive anthem while “See It Through”, “I Am the Road”, and “Blue as the Ocean” provides the album with an incredibly strong, albeit understated end.

Easy Way is perhaps best summed up as a short and sweet love letter to less-complicated days gone by. And while it’s a fine line between inspired and derivative, the Cactus Blossoms (for the most part) manage to successfully deliver spirited, heartfelt performances over the course of the record’s thirty-five-minute running time. If retro-leaning indie pop is even remotely on your radar, then the Cactus Blossoms’ Easy Way is a must listen.

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