Sera Cahoone, Only as the Day Is Long

Sera Cahoone, Only as the Day Is Long

All of the press releases, record reviews, and magazine articles that come from Seattle all say the same thing about their hometown songstress Sera Cahoone: something like, “finally our city is finding its voice and stripping itself from our once-proud grunge aesthetic.” Citing acts like Cahoone’s ex-band Band of Horses (not actually from Seattle, but the devil’s in the details, I suppose), Seattle-ites seem to fancy themselves progressive in the establishment of musical newness, and clearly think they have found something original in the folky Americana roots-rock these types of acts produce. The problem with that kind of provencialism is obvious: Seattle has forgotten (or maybe never knew) that this type of music has been gaining momentum in towns like Omaha, Minneapolis, and Austin for the better part of a decade. That’s not to say that the music is bad — it’s plaintive and it’s lonely and it’s gorgeous (something like pre-Figure 8 Elliott Smith) — it’s just not new. Go to the Austin City Limits festival this year and try not to hear any number of Sera Cahoones peppered amongst the stages.

Of course, none of that is Cahoone’s fault, and her sophomore release Only as the Day is Long is beautiful and comforting, kind of like Christmas Eve. There are songs that sound like they belong to Neko Case’s voice and David Berman’s guitar, songs that are elaborate enough to be moving yet simple enough to stave off musical affectation. When I first heard this record, I was skeptical — skeptical of the hype, skeptical of the record label, and skeptical of the city in which it came from. But then I listened again, and it stuck. “Baker Lake,” “Shitty Hotel,” and “You’re Not Broken” sound like the Hill Country sounds in mid-October — airy, leafy, breezy, and worry-free.

Taken as whole, this is a great record, and Sera Cahoone seems to be doing everything necessary to make a name for herself in a city that’s full of big names and that owns a royal genealogy. Just chill out and give her time, Seattle; this isn’t 1992. The world isn’t yours anymore.

(Sub Pop Records -- 2013 Fourth Avenue, Third Floor, Seattle, WA. 98121;; Sera Cahoone --
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Friday, May 16th, 2008. Filed under Reviews.

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