Cold Cave – Love Comes Close (album review)

ColdCaveAlthough they’ve only been around a fairly short time, the early recordings of Cold Cave largely fell into a sort of lo-fi, noisy haze that sounds like it could have been made by any number of groups. Last year, though, they dropped a 3-track 7″ that turned their sound on its head a bit, pushing forward into a more poppy realm while still keeping the feedback humming and a good portion of the drone/noise elements intact.

If that short release hinted at changes, then their actual debut album Love Comes Close is the group jumping into their new sound full force. Running only 9 songs and just over a half-hour in length, it’s short and sweet and finds the group pulling off an industrial-tinged new wave pop that’s incredibly catchy. Heavy arpeggiated bass and dense layers of synth shoot out over simple beats while bits of guitar are sprinkled in around the male/female vocals. It sounds fairly simple in construction, and it is, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself singing along with it.

There are numerous highlights (including the fuzzed-out and crunched-up “Life Magazine” and the early New Order-esque title track “Love Comes Close”), but to hear the range of the group (on this album at least), the 1-2 zap of “Heaven Was Full” and “The Trees Grew Emotions and Died” (making a re-appearance here from their aforementioned EP) are as good of an introduction as any.

The former is a bit slower, and dumps off into a sort of goth-infused dark wave that mixes a slew of analogue synth layers and some programmed beats into a slowly-building piece that marches forward as increasingly-agitated male baritone vocals give it just the right amount of menace.

“Heaven Was Full” – Cold Cave

“The Trees Grew Emotions and Died” is the title cut from their most recent 7″ and it’s easy to hear why they decided to include it on this release as well. Rave-style melodies are coated under a thin layer of grit and radio static while a repetitive beat hammers away, but it’s the rhythmic interplay of the male/female vocals and the squealing guitar solos that really give it true earworm qualities. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself playing it over and over and over again.

“The Trees Grew Emotions and Died” – Cold Cave

While the group certainly built a name for themselves with their batch of early singles, to my ears they pulled the best elements from those recordings and crafted something even more exciting with Love Comes Close. Certainly the mood of the album is a bit on the dour side, but that makes the few celebratory moments pop out even more. An awesome debut that leaves you wanting even more.

(buy Love Comes Close from amazon.com)
(buy Love Comes Close from The Heartworm label website)

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