New Music Discovery of the Week: Cafuné "Tek It"

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Runningis the debut album from Cafuné. During the five years after Noah Yoo and Sedona Schat graduated from college together in the mid-2010s, the duo continued to write songs and play shows in New York as they worked around their day jobs. As they honed their live set, the band’s sound evolved, and their audiences grew. By late 2019, they were graduating to larger venues in the city, ready to launch a new chapter. But then, the pandemic hit, putting those plans on hold.It turned out that months in quarantine would be the catalyst Yoo and Schat needed to sit down and finish the first Cafuné album. Runningisn’t quite a quarantine record, but it also would never have come to be if the duo weren’t forced into lockdown. The frustrations and anxieties of the chaotic city around them seeped into songs that had been written pre-COVID as they grappled with how to stay creative.Self-produced and almost entirely recorded by the duo at their homes, mostly during the pandemic, Runningis a record born in isolation that’s also about what it means to spend large swaths of time alone. It peers out at a world that feels like it’s on the precipice of disaster, considering what it means to get older, to carve out a future for yourself. In sound, the album pushes Cafuné’s genre boundaries —from alternative pop and shoegaze to neo-noir soft rock. Lead single “High” peers at depression from a perspective that Schat refers to as “a place of zen-like acceptance.” The track flutters like birds surrounding a fountain, with its soft guitars and lilted vocal arrangements. It features Yoo on guitar, which he wrote and recorded more prominently with across all of these songs. One of the reasons Running took so many years is because at times, tensions between Schat and Yoo were fraught. In the years leading up to the album, they sometimes went months without

speaking to one another, and the future of Cafuné was up in the air. “Talk” is about the tension between feeling alone and alienated while also wanting to feel better and needing to open up to people. Improvised around the clanking pipes of Yoo’s apartment, the atmosphere on the track is spectral, glowing with the distortion of an old heater and the digital haze of manipulated drum breaks.Resonant album opener “Reconsider” feels like the final minutes of sunlight in the day, when the sky’s pinks become bluish. It’s another about the need to be profoundly alone—to feel like you bruise easily and need to take space from everyone around you. Another new song, “Everyone Knows,” features Schat’s most cutting lyrics to date in an indictment of abuse and undue power. The album closes with three brand-new songs: “Live It Back Down,” “Empty Tricks,” and the title track, “Running.”Cafuné cite decision paralysis as a deterrent from finishing music in the past. With so much time spent in isolation, the walls came down a bit. It became easier to pursue ideas freely. Running, then, is a labor of friendship, of doing the work and trying to figure out what the way forward is, even when it seems like there’s no end in sight. It’s a record of growing old and growing up, of making something you can move to—whether you’re alone in a room, in a sweaty club with all of your friends, or driving away to someplace better.

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