I have to thank the Internet for my introduction to Cataldo a few years ago when I came across a song from their 2011 release, Prison Boxing. It was evident then that Eric Anderson (Cataldo’s sole member) is an expressive songwriter and that he can build moving songs with intricate and original arrangements. Prison Boxing continues to be a refreshing album to which I often return, but it’s Cataldo’s fourth album, Gilded Oldies, that brings me here.
?It took a few listens to pull out the differences between Cataldo’s past releases and what’s offered on Gilded Oldies. As I continue with it, I’ve become convinced that this isn’t a reinvention, but rather a more refined album. The elements that have come to define Cataldo’s vibe are there in full force with authority.
?For one, the music of Gilded Oldies as a whole is certainly more upbeat. The rhythms work together perfectly to create compelling grooves and beats that are almost always shifting as Cataldo moves away from its more folk leanings to a poppier edge that only occasionally reared its head before. Always one to have well-crafted arrangements, Anderson has really outdone himself here. His use of space is captivating as he allows each part to come to life and never be caught out of place. The result is a hook-filled album that will have you listening over and over.
?Then there are the lyrics. Anderson’s use of language is intelligent and charming. As you listen and imagine the scenes that he paints beautifully, it’s easy to find yourself a part of it and not just watching it unfold. While the subject matter is mostly comprised of the human conditions of love, loss and uncertainty, he gives them a unique freshness with his insight and colorful vocabulary. There are countless lines in every song that stick out (and many words I had to look up), but typing them here won’t do them the justice they deserve (and I certainly can’t type out every word he sings), so I’ll stick to a few of my favorites.
?”The Beast” is perhaps the poppiest of all of the songs and gives a picture into a character Anderson refers to throughout the album. Besides references to Greek mythology, he pulls in some Latin for the chorus:
?”Noli me tangere*, mother fucker for the beast I am / And cause I know the weight it carries when I touch you / I’m not going to just hold your hand”
?*translates to “touch me not”
?One of my favorite lines comes from the somber “Black Lamb”:
?”If this age is going to change me then let it change me by degree / If I become something disgusting I’ll just retrace my steps and leave / But what a cowardly thing to know the notes and not sing.”
?Gilded Oldies is an album that I recommend for everyone. One of my favorite aspects of listening to music is the quest to find more from a given artist, and I’m not sure that any discovery has excited me as much as Cataldo has. Cataldo may not be reinventing the wheel of indie rock, but Anderson’s ability as a songwriter indicates that he’s an artist to watch.