taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of local & state music CDs

COLD CAVE Love Comes Close

If you watched any football at all over this past Thanksgiving weekend, you undoubtedly saw nonstop airings of a Radio Shack commercial that featured a song that reminded one of a gauzier, less self-aggrandizing version of “Time to Pretend.” That song was called “Life Magazine” and the band was Cold Cave, the latest addition to Matador Records and whose album Love Comes Close has done wonders to push forward a genre of music that’s already highly nuanced in its own right. Some give it the rather disparaging handle “shitgaze,” while most know it simply as lo-fi noise pop, a form of indie wave categorized by its intolerance of low end and overabundances of treble, almost to abrasive levels. While the darkly ambient and textured form of synth-pop that Cold Cave creates on their first honest-to-God LP/CD release Love Comes Close is more New Order or Gary Numan at its core than it is Times New Viking, the predominant influences are definitely there: piles of fuzzy melodies sandwiching muffled, distorted vocals driven by a sense of medicated euphoria. The aforementioned “Life Magazine” might not be the most representative example of what’s contained within; its whimsical, dance-floor-ready vibe might give false hope to those already smitten by its infectiousness. Nearly all of the rest of the album is a collage of post-industrial soundscapes that could very well have a niche in many underground clubs, but require a bit of remixing to get the booties of most anyone but the black-clad goth types shaking. Still, one can only imagine the exhilaration that songs like the jaggedly-poppy “The Trees Grew Emotion and Died” or unabashedly ’80s synth-off “Youth and Lust” might have in a live setting. Veteran hardcore vocalist Wesley Eisold lightens up and gives his best Peter Murphy impression on the latter and others, while it’s Caralee McElroy on “Life Magazine” that lends the voice that will be echoing through the heads of most that hear Love Comes Close. The album can be a little mopey at times, particularly on “The Laurels of Erototmania” where Eisold opines “people pay attention to me/ I don’t know why,” but that’s almost a given considering his history with vocal brutality. At their best, they’re a more polished and digestible version of Crystal Castles, while at their worst they’re New Order off their meds. That’s not such a bad trade-off, is it?


Cold Cave will perform a free show next Saturday, Feb. 13 at Studio B. Nite Jewel will support. The show starts at 9 p.m.