When Eric Anderson finally decided to get serious about writing his fourth album under the Cataldo moniker, he was struck with a need to shake off his old sonic tendencies. At the time, he was finding himself more interested in radio pop tunes than the “ebullient faux-folk” that had been pouring out of his native Seattle. Embracing the shift in his musical aesthetic, Anderson recorded Gilded Oldies, due March 4th from Red Pepper Records. In anticipation, it’s streaming in full below.
The record captures a more mature, introspective Cataldo, addressing new musical fascinations and what we late-20-somethings call “real adulthood.” Anderson’s lyrics see him coming to terms with a future that isn’t what he imagined it. “What awaits you?” he asks on the title track. “And who’ll wait up to meet you now/that you’re jacked up on the gilded oldies?” While he acknowledges the disparity between vision and actuality, he’s not conceding, singing on album closer “Other Side”, “But someday in a moment unacknowledged by the sprawl/my heart will beat so hard that it can break the terra cotta shell the beast has made/that keeps me lonesome and acting smart.”
All the while, horns spurt out confidently and drums snap along with unvarnished, grooving rhythms. Anderson admits that he set “amazing drummers at kind of a weird task,” asking them to perform simple “boom and bap with auxiliary percussion” that you usually hear on programmable R&B and pop songs. The effect is that the vocals feel relaxed in their delivery, unhindered by crashing drums or overbearing rhythms. Yet simultaneously, there’s a moveable beat full of seductive, jazz-inspired flourishes.
“When I started writing this record,” Anderson tells CoS, “I was bored with myself, bored with guitar, and needed to just shut the fuck up so I could hear myself think.” He may not have seen himself recording an album “reconciling a repulsion and attraction to emotional, financial, and geographic stability”, but that’s what Anderson ended up getting. “When you quiet down and give yourself permission to say and do whatever the hell you want sometimes surprising things happen—for me it was making a sensual, wordy, occasionally danceable pop record.”