Cayetana – “Nervous Like Me” Album Review

Posted: by Morgan


Stream “Nervous Like Me” while you read!

This has been an impressive year for Tiny Engines, an indie label operating out of North Carolina. Several of its bands, including the Hotelier, Somos, and Dikembe, have put out spectacular albums all with potential to hold positions in Top 10 lists by the end of this year. On September 9, the all-girl group Cayetana released the newest addition to Tiny Engines’ join growing list of up-and-comers.

Nervous Like Me may be the Cayetana’s debut album, but it features a level of maturity and finesse seen in much more veteran acts. Personally, with all the recent (and mostly justified) talk concerning sexism in punk music, being able to have an entirely female band in my library has been incredibly refreshing.

These energizing qualities are immediately evident with the opener “Serious Things Are Stupid.” The layered sound created by multiple musical facets helps Cayetana to essentially establish its own genre. Very few acts today can be described as emo, indie, and DIY punk. It is fuzzy and warm, but contains a lyrical depth that adds a facet of sophistication difficult to find in today’s underground scene.

The female vocals give the record the ideal twist that listeners have not heard in some time. I’ve gotten so used to just having the full, powerful pipes of Hayley Williams and Tay Jardine, that Augusta Koch’s distinctively subtle voice is an invigorating change.

“Animal” and “Dirty Laundry” establish a charming rhythm to the album. This tempo highlights one of the most alluring qualities of Cayetana’s style. It is neither overly aggressive nor particularly in-your-face, making it an excellent to work or relax to while still being simultaneously engaging enough to warrant repeat listens.

Following up is “Madame B” with a kick-start beat that has ample amounts of smooth bass accompanied by a sprightly drum section. Aside from its musical parts, the realistic portrayal of, as I interpreted, the end of a relationship makes this one of my favorite tracks of the year thus far. Unlike most break-up songs, this doesn’t bad-mouth the opposing party or steep too long in the depressing. Rather, it emphasizes on the narrator’s self-empowerment, as seen with various lines including “I swore right there on my father’s eyes that I would never be compromised.” This down-to-earth nature is everything that is so wonderful about this band and album. It is honest, yet not overly emotional. Organic, yet polished.

As aforementioned, maturity is key throughout the album; and the theme continues to trickle down through the twinkly track “Favorite Things”.  Just as this slows the tempo down, listeners are launched head first into the initial single “Hot Dad Calendar”. This indie-rock side of Cayetana is uplifting and dance-y with guitar riffs that turn and twist for an upbeat, higher sound that match up with Koch’s vocals perfectly.

“South Philly” closes Nervous Like Me on the highest of notes. Here, the story of the song is the focal point and quickly pulls listeners in. Listeners feel implored to hear the entire narrative. The musicianship behind Koch’s melodies builds the song up and then proceeds to act like a backbone and a facilitator of the story rather than stealing its spotlight.

This balance of so many aspects epitomizes the appeal of Cayetana, making for a memorable debut record.

– Morgan