Cold Cave, Cherish The Light Years

Cold Cave, Cherish The Light Years

New York City synth-pop, New Wave band Cold Cave returned this month with Cherish the Light Years, the follow-up to the band’s debut release Love Comes Close, both out on Matador Records.

Cold Cave is the project of front man Wesley Eisold, former vocalist of several hardcore groups including American Nightmare/Give Up The Ghost, Some Girls and XO Skeletons.

Cherish the Light Years is a fantastic, dark, loud record that will keep you hooked from start to finish. Right from the album’s start, the heaviness of the band’s experimental synth-pop sound hits you like a ton of bricks and rarely lets up for the album’s entire 40 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a record that starts out as loud and fast-paced as this one, but I absolutely love it.

For me, the opening track is crucial. If the first track doesn’t hook me or even get my attention, then I don’t have much faith in the rest of the album. “The Great Pan is Dead,” however, is one of the best album openers I have ever heard; it almost catches you off guard how quick and loud it blasts from your stereo or out of your headphones. Eisold’s deep, almost monotone vocals only enhance the track, as well as the rest of the album, adding to its dark, mysterious feel and begging comparisons to Nick Cave or Iggy Pop.

Cherish the Light Years has a very heavy ’80s feel, and it’s clear the influence bands like New Order have had on the group. Cold Cave seems to find that thin line between what’s ugly and what’s beautiful, what’s chaos and what’s order with its music. My favorite tracks on the album are “The Great Pan is Dead,” “Underworld USA,” and “Icons of Summer,” but the entire album from start to finish is fantastic.

I saw the band play in Salt Lake City last week, and it was a blast; they played a short but incredibly loud, danceable set. Cold Cave played mostly songs from Cherish the Light Years, and I must say that it was one of the loudest shows I have ever been to. I’m not one to wear earplugs at shows; in fact, I never have worn them, but there were a few moments as I was right next to the stage, and the band members were tripping out on tangents and using sound distortions for a few minutes, that I wished I could pop some in.

The setup included a line of three of Cold Cave’s members, with their synthesizer equipment all in a row in the front and the drummer in the back. As the band played its songs, it was cool to see how into it each of the members got, their heads bobbing up and down in sync and their feet stomping in rhythm.

Eisold played the perfect role and was exactly as I expected him to be. He was monotone whenever he spoke to the crowd and always seemed to be looking above our eyes so as to not make eye contact. He sang beautifully, the way it was captured on both albums, and stood still, singing into the mic; my favorite moments, however, were when he occasionally spun around or began dancing dramatically. I only wish they would have played some of their songs off Love Comes Close.

(Matador Records -- 304 Hudson St. 7th Floor, New York, NY. 10013;; Cold Cave --
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Review by . Review posted Thursday, April 21st, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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