The Ascetic Junkies

This Cage Has No Bottom

by Stephen Rowland

18 November 2010

cover art

The Ascetic Junkies

The Cage Has No Bottom

(Timber Carnival)
US: 16 Nov 2010
UK: Import

The press kit for This Cage Has No Bottom, the Ascetic Junkies’ sophomore release, suggests you file it under the following, um, genres: folk-pop, dancy bluegrass, hootenanny, and/or whiskey stomp. So next time you’re in FYE and having trouble finding this record, ask the well-paid clerks to show you to the “dancy bluegrass” section. If that fails, try “whiskey stomp”.

In addition to these fictional genres that imply a rowdy good time, the publicity for the album talks about how the Junkies’ pop-infused bluegrass is a high-energy, raucous concoction that sets crowds ablaze. I never got the inspiration to dance or holler or set cars on fire while listening. This is simply highly eclectic music that takes a lot of musical chances, but these chances seemingly are taken by people who certainly are not experienced songwriters. On this record, all five members of the band contribute to the songwriting process, and the results provide many head-scratchers and lots of mediocrity.

However, standouts include “Get What You Want, Get What You Need”, bluegrass-pop with excellent melodies that isn’t afraid to plagiarize the Decemberists a bit, and “God/Devil/Gov’t” which plays like a
Dillards/Zombies hybrid with interesting forays into electro-pop. There’s not much more to mention; the bluegrass sound so hyped-up isn’t really present here. For the most part, it’s just an indie pop record with some ventures into frighteningly gleaming modern country-pop, and influences ranging from the Beatles and Jellyfish to Bettie Serveert, Belle & Sebastian and Nickel Creek. The Ascetic Junkies need to simplify or learn how to make this all come together, because right now, the band’s just trying too hard.

The Cage Has No Bottom



We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.


//Mixed media

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article