Brilliantly Catchy, Creepy Reverb-Drenched Desert Rock From Cate Von Csoke
Australian guitarist Cate Von Csoke blends reverb-infused desert rock and girl-down-the-well vocals for one of the most distinctively creepy sounds around. Her new vinyl record Almoon – streaming at Bandcamp – is a lock for one of the best of 2021. Throughout the album, the mystery never lifts. After awhile, it all starts to sound like one long, forlorn song – but Von Csoke owns that sound.
She opens it with Coyote Cry, her hazy, distant vocals and reverb-drenched, Link Wray-inspired changes over drummer Steve Shelley’s slow, loping beat. Jared Artaud’s eerily twinkling Wurlitzer twinkles eerily amid Von Csoke’s icy clang in the second song, Silver Screen
Imagine Marissa Nadler covering a Morricone spaghetti western theme and you get Silver Highway. Von Csoke breaks out her repeater box for an Electric Prunes-style strobe in the next cut, Flake and follows that with Dream Around, just disembodied vocals and lingering guitar jangle.
She sticks with the guitar-and-vocals format for Flowers, which brightens the mood a little. But that doesn’t last, as Darkchild unfolds over a catchy series of brooding 60s folk-rock changes. The final cut, Hold True brings the album full circle: Australians have always had a thing for Wray and surf rock in general.
Now where did Von Csoke escape to, before the Australian government decided to institute draconian lockdowns whenever any rando shows up positive on a meaningless PCR test? She ended up in Brooklyn: apartheid capitol of the US, outside of Oregon, anyway. Rents are coming down all over town: these days the South Bronx is looking better and better.