Fashionable NY Kids Leave the Bedroom For Manchester Goth

Cold Cave
Love Comes Close

On 2009’s debut LP Love Comes Close, New York’s Cold Cave employed a very specific aesthetic (neo-romantic lyrics and dark, noisy atmospherics) that has since become increasingly fashionable. Newfound genres like “witch house” and “drag” have ushered in an onslaught of bands (oOoOO and Salem, for example) to capitalize on the same goth/cult synth-pop.

Thankfully, on sophomore release Cherish the Light Years, Cold Cave resist urges to jump ship in the name of individuality, opting instead to develop their signature jet-black pop while exploring new musical ground.

Despite its lyrical melodrama and grave, Ian Curtis vocal delivery, Cold Cave’s debut was, at heart, an intimate bedroom pop album. On Cherish the Light Years, the band expands  its approach considerably. Every component of the album, from the surging guitar chords and bright, punchy synthesizers, to the polished vocal recording, is larger, more anthemic and ultimately more dramatic than anything the band has done in the past. On opening track “The Great Pan is Dead,” aggressive, double-time guitar and persistent drumming peel away to a core of New Order-style synthesizers and lead man Wesley Eisold’s hopeful, histrionic lyrics: “Tell me when the world is ending / You will be there, still pretending / I was just someone you’d love to love.”

The tight, motorik drum patterns on “Pacing Around the Church” and the Robert Smith-evoking vocal drama on “Icons of Summer” both mark a keen attention to detail and ’80s homage that melds with Cold Cave’s sleek, new wave pop sound.

Don’t let the change in technique fool you — Cold Cave are still as moody, ultra-serious and strangely pop-friendly as they’ve ever been. This time around, however, they’ve cleaned up, making their sound infinitely bigger and slightly more mature — a shift that suits them nicely. (7/10)

— Andrew Whitworth