Cataldo is stuck in the middle-age limbo where he can’t decide to look forward to the future or behind his shoulder to the past in his newest album, Literally Main Street. He takes the chaos of his surrounding environment from the past and present, translating it into this sense of transparency between him and the listener. The album’s storytelling leaves a lot to the listener’s imagination, almost allowing them to input themselves as spectators in Cataldo’s inspired and unsolved world.
Eric Anderson has been making music in Seattle’s music scene for almost 14 years under the moniker Cataldo. Literally Main Street is his sixth studio release and signals his return to music after a two-year break. He’s been recognized nationally for his pensive lyric writing and earnest sensibilities in what he calls “brainy feelings music.”
In Literally Main Street, Anderson literally “cannot wait to show you all the weird things [he’s] seen.” Each track is blended expertly with imaginative characters: “The guy who only wears sandals” on the track “Ding Dong Scrambled Eggsm” or “four punk kids sleeping on the floor” on “For You, With You.” Cataldo succeeds in placing the listener in his own narrative; however, he never speaks directly to them. Instead, Anderson is addressing people within his past and himself in his lyrics. “Where the Good Love Goes” is a steady, drum-heavy song where Anderson appears to lecture someone about taking a cautionary approach to love. However, Anderson is speaking to himself — a younger version of himself — and desperately trying to convince him that he “is not going to know who’s going to bring you home and teach you where the good love goes.” Love won’t fall into his lap or be provided by the best people with the best intentions. In the majority of the other tracks, Cataldo addresses people in his life through acoustic, sentimental laments about the past and the feelings attached to them. In “Long Road Back to Idaho,” the past catches up to the present in this expressive, soft track where Anderson recounts in perfect detail a memorable summer full of “riding ‘round the railroad tracks” and “barfing on chaise lounge by the window with the doors unlocked.” The lyrics are so heavy but the instrumental is comforting and warm, with a faint snare drum accompanied by a light acoustic riff and the occasional dream-like synth chords. It’s almost like the backtrack to a dream. Anderson’s vocals are isolated in each track, standing out amongst the contrastingly light instrumentals. He’s eloquent and meaningful, revealing and stirring.
Pensive is the ideal word to describe the tone of this album. It is almost as if Anderson is strolling through an art gallery where every piece is a memory from days, months, or years ago. There is natural awkwardness, nervousness, and weirdness that comes with a developing life infused in each track. There is such a candid, untouched realness that listeners are fortunate enough to experience.
Recommended If You Like: Death Cab for Cutie, Bright Eyes, Kishi Bashi, Fruit Bats, Conor Oberst
Recommended Tracks: 2 (They Don’t Know About Us), 4 (Literally Main Street), 7 (Way Way Back), 11 (Long Road Back to Idaho)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Caroline McCone on 10/15/2019