Forget previous notions about the complexities of life. You won’t need them, or at least, you won’t be thinking of them while listening to ‘Keepers,’ Cataldo’s fifth album.
The album is never too complicated or out of reach, even when it does evolve into something less carefree. And it’s a different direction for the Seattle based band, a changing suit of players led by singer/songwriter Eric Anderson.
Listening to ‘Keepers’ is like taking a trip back to the innocence of youth. It’s bright, warm and new. It’s sweet and inviting, like the embrace of a new love.
Anderson’s previous work is laced with long-winded lyrics and existentialism, a staple for the introspective indie sound Anderson usually subscribes to. It’s never been a stretch for him to deconstruct love like the human anatomy or turn depression into vegetation that dwindles and grows.
‘Keepers’ is a different beast altogether, and it tries to assert none of the above. Instead, we find moments of inexperience and a confidence only the young can sincerely execute.
Anderson still gives us the perfect and unlikely comparison, but he does so in a less complicated way. ‘Keepers’ embraces naïveté and grows from it, creating something new and organic.
Just think of the first time you met someone who became really important to you. Think about the spark that came to life and the darkness before it. That’s what Cataldo asks us to do in “Room Without a Flame,” the album’s opening track.
In “Photograph” we’re given a pastel colored snapshot of inhibition. Anderson paints a simple, yet evocative picture that peels back the proverbial curtains of youth to capture everyday joys. The song is bright and shiny, a perfect retrofit of an 80s pop song.
“Little Heartbeat” is the most indulgent track on the album, but not in a bad way. Cataldo dispels any complications more experienced individuals tack on to love and brings us back to more innocent days. The band sits back, lets the beat go and gives into the silly and sweet side of love; a side that is careless and unrestrained. It’s a side we can understand immediately, and Anderson sums up the feel of the album in just a few lines.
“On the night when I met you, feeling barely 17,” Anderson sings.
There’s a youthfulness in “Keepers” that finds a sweet and tender groove in between growing up and remaining young.
In “Person You’d Be Proud Of,” Anderson goes back, at least lyrically, to his earlier discography. The lyrics are pensive in a way he can’t control, and there is a mix of emotions radiating through the subtle tune. It’s hopeful, but self-aware of its own good fortune, trying somehow to earn it.
Somewhere between falling in love and learning to be self-aware, ‘Keepers’ grows into itself. Youthfulness arrives on the cusp of adulthood, and there’s a slight hesitation to step over the line.
“But I’m not ready to leave, so enjoy the show, not sure how long it’ll be,” Anderson sings in “Between You and Me.”
“A Short Goodbye to No One in Particular” shifts from inhibition into self-awareness. There are memories, and ideas about who we were or who we thought we’d be. Scenes of happiness and sadness flash by, and people become nothing more than the potential of who they could be to us. It’s a little isolating, but without regret, we let them go and move on.
“America, Goodnight” is the punctuation to it all. It’s a final resting point for our youth, where music, friendship and love stay simple and pure.
‘Keepers,’ out April 28, is a beautiful and wistful collection of sound that never strays too far from being a pleasant, if not nostalgic, experience.