Cavalcade is an indie rock outfit of little restraint or convention. Come to think of it, that's the definition of most indie bands, isn't it? The band commands a big rock dynamic as it calls upon odd time signatures and grooves. That's why it's hard to picture them as outcasts or misunderstood musical orphans (again another key component of the indie definition). But Cavalcade does what it wants in an ever-shifting musical landscape; its success is by its own definition.
"It's a weird time to be in a band," says guitarist Michael Munn. "Speaking for myself, there's aging, having kids ... We've been at it forever and we never wanted to be the next big thing. We play what we wanna play. We play what we like."
The quartet —Keith Rosengren, keyboards; Munn on guitar and vocals; Sean Havens, drums; and Brian Moffitt, bass — luxuriates within its own brand of success.
"We exist. We evolve," Munn says. And yet the group is somehow stymied by the music around them, its very existence, its growth and evolution.
"I'm hard-pressed to find a modern sense of what's out there," Munn says. "Or what kids are listening to that involves guitar music."
According to Munn, it's as if Cavalcade is in a Cavalcade bubble, further creating Cavalcade despite the constraints and limitations. "As you get weighed down by life, it's harder to step out of that bubble," he says. "There are infinite possibilities in there. We're a band out of place based on instrumentation. Electronic things that are going on now we really haven't taken an interest in, I suppose."
Rosengren doesn't necessarily share Munn's pessimism. He believes there's still room to move and create in the bubble.
"But it's a really large bubble," he says. "You can do a lot in there."
For the band's fifth release, "The Switch," it signed on with Andrew Greacen and Jason "Jocko" Randall at More Sound Studios in Syracuse after hearing a recent recording by fellow Rochester scenesters Pink Elephant's work there. Up until this point, Cavalcade was a self-producing entity. With this new six-song EP however, the boys in the band relinquished the wheel. It was more economical and gave the band room to be Cavalcade.
"It takes us forever to get it together," Moffit says. "So it helped on that way."
"And it helps capture that live feel," Rosengren adds. "And you get to jive off of one another, see the cues, hear the cues. There's some kind of connection when you record live like that."
The tunes on "The Switch" had been field tested live so the process was further streamlined
With no warning, the EP kicks in with all instruments playing their own frenetic pattern; crisscrossing and intersecting with the others at given intervals. There are even some straight-up, straight-time sojourns. Like track number two, "Silhouettes," with its convincing and gang-style backbeat. These are not brief respites from the chaos, but rather another tool in the bands dynamic arsenal.
"We tend to actively avoid anything that sounds straight forward," says Rosengren. "Sometimes if we play a straight forward song it's an experiment for us." By the time the listener arrives at "Lush," with its mid-song freak out — "a failed attempt at a slide guitar solo," says Munn — it's clear that Cavalcade is a guitar band and "The Switch" is a mighty fine guitar record regardless of where you file it.
"We've been called a band that isn't afraid of genre," Havens says.