Nothing like a little sincere and tender harmonization to tug on your heart strings. The collective five piece from Milwaukee known as Social Caterpillar do earnest work developing a tender, emotional, and sparse track that strips everything down to a minimum, which only highlights the highs, and leaving nothing low except for the inspirational subject material behind “The River”, the track that we’re premiering here today.
It’s hauntingly reflective, and refreshing in its ‘go for it’ attitude, particularly when singer Eric stresses his vocals with only a soft guitar melody gently flickering behind him. The violin adds a detailed nuance that dresses up the emotional elements to a more regal level, while the harmonization takes center stage, and blends nicely amongst the near non-existent drum work. When the percussion does flare it’s pretty fucking glorious, as the track meets its climax halfway through, giving way for the rest of the heavier elements to shine.
There’s a particular foreshadowing the bassist alludes to in a few spots that plays off brilliantly. When everything comes fully into the spotlight, everything comes more into focus. The violin’s emotional notes blend well with the heavy and wrought bass bumps, and scratchy guitar effects. Afterwards the track transitions into a slinky, almost jangly romp, before being snapped back to one last final tender note, ending as quiet and lonesome as it began.
The more and more I hear this track I can’t help but think about The Walkmen, and that earnest indie guitar rock that dominated that era. Social Caterpillar carry such an enormous emotional weight in their delivery, and do such a good job weaving the various textures of instrumentation in and out of the composition that it’s hard not to just gush.
In a couple of weeks I’ll be at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. I can’t help but think about how Social Caterpillar would absolutely kill on a festival circuit. There’s something to all the elements, and their blending of them that can leave listeners aghast at how they pulled it all off. I can see a whole crowd swooning to this in some awesome autumn sunshine. It’s a wonderful, well thought out, well executed, and developed songwriting that is sparse amongst a backdrop of the current era of hyper scenes that don’t stop throwing bells and whistles at 1000mph nonstop. Leaning into the antithesis of that, along with it being a strength only sets this band further apart from the pack, and sets them up for some great things.
If you liked what you heard above, give their socials a follow, and be on the lookout for their next release Alphabet Crown releasing on all platforms, and on physical media October 7th on Softseed Music: