Cacti are rare in Minnesota, about as rare as brothers who are able to shake off the competition for their parents’ affection and join their voices in harmony. Brothers Page and Jack produce classic rockabilly-inflected twang-pop akin to the Everly Brothers. In standard arrangement, their band The Cactus Blossoms opens portals to foregone decades where life was every bit as complicated but more was put into maintaining the facade of simplicity.
On You’re Dreaming, “Change Your Ways Or Die,” with its wailing guitar slides and Desperado riffs, summons up images of loners struggling to make their way out West to claim a plot of land and start a life. In “Mississippi” the brothers’ voices meld over tremolo guitar and a four-piece drum kit, singing of an angel waiting on the shores of the river and spelling out M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P, pivoting the final “I” to the next line about watching the sun sink towns. These songs ring earnest as their predecessors. The difference is that Jack and Page live in the age of the internet, where distractions and unpleasant truths abound. Despite these shackles of their time and circumstance, The Cactus Blossoms maintain an innocence and unity in their songs. They have a way of creating self-contained worlds like those of classic Oaters where the world was as black and white as the images on the TV.
In our technology and information saturated era, The Cactus Blossoms are escapist and surreal, tapping into a way of playing music and writing songs that had its heyday decades ago. Hmm. Media that delves into the past to express the surreal tension between facades of simplicity and life’s complexities. That sounds familiar. Let me just meditate on it for a second. Try to catch the big fish. Oh right, The Cactus Blossoms’ songs have that glossy, dreamy quality of David Lynch films. Listening to some tracks they’d just recorded a few years back, Jack told Page that they’d be getting a call from Mr. Lynch himself. It was a joke. A dream. As farfetched as a third season of Twin Peaks almost twenty years after season two. Well, life can often work like a funny dream, and they got that call, appearing at the end of episode 3, season 3. Jack told me that, on set, he shook David Lynch’s hand, and Lynch transferred him some of his creative energy a la Michelangelo’s The Birth Of Adam. Another joke. Another dream. Jokes, dreams, and serious faces. That pretty well sums up The Cactus Blossoms. — DILLON ALEXANDER