Music Reviews


The Causey Way

With Loving and Open Arms

Alternative Tentacles

Beginning With Loving and Open Arms with the call-to-arms line “Here’s a message from the pulpit, people!” seems almost too appropriate, as the album, to date, is the Causey Way’s most concise (and longest) collection of hymns set on sonic self-destruct. But those keen onlookers expecting Causey and his co-conspirators to merely rock out will be in for quite a jostling, because beneath all the tweaked, punkified chords and buzzing analog synths is a soft, white pop underbelly befitting of the band’s otherworldly stature.

And otherworldly’s just the half of it. One skim through With Loving and Open Arms ‘s lyric book – eerie, grainy black and white photos ranging from clandestine sermons and baptisms to gun-toting “Causey Compound” construction – will probably send the mentally sound off to wonder what the hell is going on here. However, maybe that’s just the point.

Whatever strange axis the Causey Way operates on, they sure make it look attractive. Approximating a southern Brainiac, the Way can still shake and shimmy like sci-fi punks during electroshock therapy, as evidenced by “The Electronic Church (You Sell God)” and the aforementioned “Message From the Pulpit.” For the past few years, the Gainesville, Florida band has cultivated this sound free from surveillance but now, with stronger emphasis on rock-when-necessary dynamics (e.g., “Light of the World,” “Carousel of Progress”), offers it up for one and all – mass consumption begetting mass conversion/confusion. These dynamics are doubtless spurred on by The Way’s newly-contracted pop infection: Stretching from the seductive “Toys” to the haunting “Bed is Where” and all the hysteria in between, With Loving and Open Arms displays a band that can coo as well as it can cork.

During “Light of the World,” Causey makes a shocking (pun fully intended) statement: “There’s only thing with more power than me – electricity!” Possibly, but I wouldn’t want to bet my Causey Cash on it.

Alternative Tentacles, P.O. Box 419092, San Francisco, CA 94141

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