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Chris Cacavas & Junkyard Love

Dwarf Star – 1999 (Innerstate)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Chris Cacavas & Junkyard Love

Former Green on Red member Chris Cacavas makes music to settle the stomach and calm the nerves. With a fragile voice falling somewhere between Neil Young (especially on the piano ballad "Dwarf Star") and Nick Drake, he squeezes every possible teardrop out of his sad songs.

Although his car only goes a few speeds - slow and flat-tire dragging - this does contain a few shots of musical variety. "Blame The Guitar" gallops at an almost sprightly pace as it places blame on his gut-stringed instrument for making him spill his own guts, and "Song 33," a hidden track not hidden all that well, is actually a piano and slide guitar instrumental duet. Much of Cacavas' lyrical concern centers around love lost and lovers lost. But there are exceptions to this rule. "Honking At Demons" feels like the diary of a road rage offender, and "I Like Lyle Lovett" name drops the formerly tall-haired one within a song about the things Cacavas likes.

Overall, however, Cacavas doesn't appear to like very much about this world and doesn't exactly come off as an Up With People life-lover. Instead, he channels a downer's vibe that can only come from a solitary man in a lonely room.