|Divide And Conquer Review|
3.9 out of 5
By Rebecca Rothschild
Welcome to the delightfully electric world of Pete Cautious. This solo artist has assembled a fascinating self-titled album Pete Cautious right here in my backyard of Chicago. Entering this wold requires a bit of a zen approach. Set free your expectations and preconceived notions because this album transcends time, space and logic. I am always happy to rise to the challenge of defining an album that cannot be defined. I guess you could stuff it under indie rock but then you might be leaving out the surfy, intergalactic details. Oh well, we do what we can. Let’s dig in.
The music features lots of charming indie rock guitar work with carefully stacked electronic layers, synth being the other powerful voice. I have to say, on synth alone, Cautious was not afraid to use every crayon in the box and not a single one was wasted. While he is painting with a certain muted, limited pallet, there are so many and so much delicious drama in each of the songs. There are a few universal motifs across the album of dreamy doom, irony, melancholy. It’s all very lovely.
His foundation is rooted in sounds that are often associated with levity and he then twists and bends these elements to his will. His sense of humor is also not lost on me. There is a demographic out there that will find his heavier synth tunes “dated” or “weird.” There are times where it can swallow certain songs, but his love for synth is still so endearing to me. The album never really takes itself too seriously, but it’s not without potency. There’s a great balance here, again, that zen state of mind when listening really comes in handy.
There’s also the matter of the music and vocals on this album which happened to really pull on my heart strings. Cautious has one of those voices that is romantic and tragic at the same time. He can be so haunting and broken and yet so hopeful. He’s not a man of many words which makes the lyrics a little enigmatic at times. A good deal of these songs seem to be built off of very singular and brief narratives. I feel some have deeper meaning and carry more weight than what’s on the paper. He conveys all of this with this incredible voice. One gripe I have is that sometimes his voice was too buried. It’s such a good asset, I wanna hear it.
Above anything else, I find this album to be very playful. His musical ability was given lots of green pasture to breathe. Cautious has been involved in countless band projects and now he is all on his own in his home studio. It sounds very much like we’re getting a live feed to his subconscious. I can sense the freedom and exuberance of him being left alone to his own devices. Overall the album is not a hi-fi experience, but I still got the sensation there was a celebration happening. Congratulations to Mr. Cautious, I feel like he needed this album out in the world.