It’s evident that producer David Bendeth worked on CAVO’s major-label debut—there’s a slickness to hard rock’s edginess that can be heard on Bendeth’s previous work with such artists as Breaking Benjamin, Paramore and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Joining the ever-growing pool of pop-rock acts, CAVO is beginning to scratch out a slot of its own, thanks in part to highly coveted opening acts for Staind and the upcoming Mötley Crüe tour. At first listen, I heard numerous underpinnings of late-‘90s rock (think the grunginess of Soundgarden with the radio-friendly leanings of The Nixons, whose singer/guitarist Zac Maloy co-wrote “Ghost”), but additional spins revealed “heart on a sleeve” lyrics courtesy Casey Walker’s riveting voice and a tightly knit bottom end that shows a true chemistry between bassist Brian Smith and drummer Chad La Roy. The only thing that I really hoped to hear was more pronounced guitar lines; next time, Chris Hobbs really needs to strut his stuff. Hopefully, the opening slot for the Crüe will give this group the shot in the arm it needs to pull out a hard-hitting follow-up that will take them from the B stage to headliners.
Must Play: “Champagne.”
Producer/mixer: David Bendeth. Engineers: Dan Korneff, Kato Khandwala and John Bender. Assistant engineer: Mitch Milan. Mix Engineer: Korneff. Studio: The House of Loud (Elmwood Park, N.J.) Mastering: Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound (New York City).