Caged Animals: Girls On Medication
“Girl on medication, oh girl of my dream” from out of a cloud of mystical fuzz and feedback, and a sweet guitar riff worthy of classic shoegaze status (akin to a mix of My Bloody Valentine and The Lemonheads at their peak) comes this lyrical paean to the universe of imperfect, weird love songs, so seldom prominent in pop culture. It’s an opening salvo in the UK from Vincent Cacchione (aka Caged Animals), and a sampler for his forthcoming debut UK release, ‘Eat Their Own’ (Lucky Number), which comes off the back of a sold-out, self- -titled cassette release via Healing Light in 2010.
Cacchione, emerged from Hawthorne, New Jersey in 1983 at the same time that fellow resident, Deborah Harry, was moving from Blondie’s disco-influenced post-punk into a new wave of future apocalyptic celluloid via the film ‘Videodrome.’ In the words of Cacchione, ‘Girls On Medication’ offers a similarly foreboding melodrama, of a high-school boy and the pill-popping, clinically depressed girl he loves. She’s not your regular prom-girl, and this is not your regular sing-along, but singing along you will be.
‘Girls On Medication’ captures Cacchione, known previously for his thematic and literate work with Soft Black – 2007’s ‘Blue Gold’, a sombre account of his father’s twilight years, and 2009’s ‘The Earth Is Black’, a concept record based around a series of nightmares – in a light-hearted mood. Free association runs rampant, as does a sense of sound and melody coming together spontaneously. The live show translates as a family affair with Cacchione’s gorgeous French-Canadian partner, Magali Charron, adding dynamic as backing chanteuse with extra-ethereal musicality; Vin’s sister, Talya, plays warm bass notes like a cocktail of one part James Jamerson with two parts Kim Deal, and childhood companion, Patrick Curry concocts complementary beats.
B-side, ‘Transparent Castle’, is the result of Cacchione’s first experiments with an 808, remodelling doo-wop so that spooky, cavernously echoed Spector-like lead vocals become swathed in weirdly tuned backing harmonies of the Burial generation. It’s another potently original blend of dreams.
Drawing on influences that range from the ultra-modern to the ultra-passé, Caged Animals comes on like the last blip and squeak of a world gone wrong. Cut-up images, stream of conscious freak-outs, and a hyperactive attention to texture, colour the forthcoming album with a psychedelic but totally dance-able timbre.
To quote the artist, “I’m just gonna stand near you for a while, and smile…”, it’s a mood that he continues to inspire.