Caterpillar is a band hailing from the greater Delaware Valley - namely just outside of Philadelphia & and Northern Delaware. This band has been around at least 18 years, if not more. They are as good as ever, if not better. Caterpillar played one of my first all ages show. It was upstairs @ The Khyber Pass Pub. I bought my first piece of Dead C on LP from Mr. Tom Lax himself. To me they all were rock stars.
I first heard Caterpillar on WVUD's “The Cutting Edge”. This program was an excellent education for my thirsty young ears. “Free Floating Freaks, Free Floating Exploding Heads” was my favorite jam in high school. I wore the cassette tape out, with the song recorded from a WVUD Show. There was something so cheerful, sweet and funny about this band. It always brightened me up, even on my darkest days.
If you told the high school me that I would watch an Eagles game with 3/4s of Caterpillar and Andy from Zen Guerrilla, I would have told you that you were crazy. But I did that over the hoildaze. What follows is in no way an impartial review. They were my boyhood heroes; now they are my friends.
Caterpillar took a break for a few years. But they have since reunited, and the original magical spark is still there, as well as a new maturity. The warm humor is always there, bubbling below the surface, sometimes spilling out of the pot.
“4004” is one of Caterpillar's best songs, ever, in their entire canon. It is just that good. It is a beautiful tight little pop gem, “Every one is sync and it’s scary, at least they belong to the same tribe.” What follows is a blistering guitar solo up there with Neil Young with Crazy Horse. There is some serious face meltage by the end of the tune, and it is just the first one.
“Rise Above” is not a hard core song; it has a harmonica on it. It jangles and chimes like bands did in the early 1990s; it is a time warp, but it is the same people playing... just a little further down the hallway. This song is not one of anger but one of true joyous hope.
“Wake Up Pass Out” is slow and building with a twang of sadness but with a mellowly floating feel. There is catharsis with the command, or is it a regret, “Wake Up, Pass Out”? This song is up there with anything off of Silkworm's classic Firewater LP.
“Sargasso Sea” is not about a body of water in the landscape, but the body of water between one’s two ears. Mike's vocal is soft and bleating in a wonderful way. The reason why the rhythm section is so tight is because the drummer and bassist are partners in life as well. The guitar work can not be underestimated; while Mike is more showy, Dennis is solid.
“Ptarmigan” has a great bass line, kind of ominous in an early 80s British way. It is layered over with Mike's uplifting vocals. The ominous feel slowly subsides and the sun comes out. The mathy rock comes in waves like that of a mirage on a sunny summertime street. “Loam Star” is another wonderful tune, “chasing American dreams, who knows what that means.” The last song is up there with the opening track for instant classiness. “Permanent French” is as heavy but buoyant as any Silkworm song. There is an uncredited bonus track; it takes place on the bus, and it is more magical than one could imagine - “Dialing up a Shooting Star”. This EP deserves its place of honor in the hollowed Caterpillar Canon. (CaterpillarLovesYou) (Dan Cohoon)