Review: Cayetana- Nervous Like Me (Tiny Engines)

Posted: September 19, 2014 in Reviews

Women are having an increasingly influential role in the punk/indie underground, and I am reminded of this every couple of weeks or so that I discover a new female band. This is awesome for gender equality and giving women a voice in the traditionally male dominated scene of punk rock, but also for more selfish reasons: women in indie/punk bands kick ass. Whether this be Bikini Kill and Riot Grrrl, Unlovables’ cute brand of pop-punk in the early 2000s or Waxahatchee’s reflective, yearning indie-folk records, I love 90% of girl punk/indie rock.

So, the new discovery is Philadelphia indie/pop-punk all-female trio Cayetana and their first full-length Nervous Like Me. Although I had heard good things, I had not checked out their demo or the Hot Dad Calendar 7”, so it hit me like a ton of bricks how good this was. Nervous Like Me is direct and hooky, and while it has its pop-punk moments could not really be described as a straightforward pop-punk album, in the same way as Swearin’ and Lemuria. The band alternate between slow-fast songs (“Serious Things are Stupid”; “Animal) and mid-tempo, jangly hits (“Hot Dad Calendar”). Consequently, the band that they most remind me of is Laura Stevenson and the Cans, particularly considering the similarity in vocals between Laura and Cayetana singer Augusta Koch.

The album is dreamy and contemplative, and is simultaneously hard-hitting and emotionally explicit. Indeed, lyrically, Cayetana are intensely personal, in a similar way to Waxahatchee, despite a more direct form of songwriting. The best moments are when Koch’s voice cracks or squeals; when the emotion just cannot do anything but flow out. I’m talking about moments like on “Busy Brain”, when Koch confidently declares: “I don’t wanna change for the world/I want the world to change for me”, or the vulnerable pleading on “Hot Dad Calendar”: “And I know you really wanna make it out alive”. And while we are talking about lyrics, opening the album with “I came here alone/ And I plan to leave that way” is the best I have seen in a while.

DB

Stream the album here: https://soundcloud.com/tinyengines/sets/cayetana-nervous-like-me

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