LP - Cave - Neverendless
It blows our minds to think of Cave as a ten-year-old band. Cave proper, as you hear them here, aren't ten. They're only three or so, but Cave has been blowing our minds with their unique brand of repetitive psychedelic rock for damn near a decade now. Over the course of those years, they've gone from being a loose collective of substance abusing youngsters playing for tens of teens and just-after-teens in dingy 'Maude'lin vintage store basements in Columbia, Missouri (known lovingly as CoMo) to playing for tens of hundreds of teens-at-heart on the Pritzger Pavillion stage in downtown Chicago (or more recently, the back of a flatbed truck on Milwaukee Ave from the heart Logan Square to the crotch of Wicker Park). Over the course of the first decade of the 21st century, Cave has seen a couple of significant line-up changes, but once they settled on the current four-piece line-up, they've tightened up tighter than a coked-up crowd at a Archie Bell show. Cave's rhythm section is the absolute best this side of Oneida. These dudes are all exceptionally talented musicians, but they never show off or wank. They only repeat themselves long enough to get the groove stuck in yr spine and once it's there, it's there for good. Once the repetition lulls the listener into a sense of security, the band is free to let loose. But Cave is a very calculated band these days. The improvised sounding parts are rehearsed and played by rote. When Cooper rips into his soaring "guitar solo" three-quarters of the way into "WUJ" he keeps it as quick as a trip to the cosmos can be, but it's just as effective, if not more so, than an epic journey. Rex (the drummer) is a human polyrhymic metronome with the stamina of an Iron Man. Dan (the bassist) grooves like less flagrant Bootsy Collins. And Rotten Milk (the synthesist) taps out ivory melody most of the time, but he's also proved himself the modern-day Del Dettmar. Anyhow, what your probably asking is how does this record differ from previous Cave releases...well, first and foremost, it's mostly instrumental, like their earlier records. Vocals like those found on tracks like "Teenager" from the Pure Moods EP are absent here - the feel good B-side jam "On The Rise" contains exactly three subtly chanted lyrics and they're all right there in the song title. The jams are all still on the long side, but they'll appeal to short attention spans by never getting boring (but nothing's new about that aspect of this Cave record). We're not sure if the LP closer "OJ" is about the liquid or the Bronco driver, but we are sure that it's a perfect song, not unlike the rest of the tracks, to listen to while driving autobahn-style through the Malibu hills. The shortest song on "Neverendless" is a poppy little synth driven number named after former Cave dweller, now Yoga expert, Adam Roberts. That's something we've always dug about Cave, they never forget their past. They even enlisted one ex-member to collage the excellent album art (maybe the band's best yet). He is one of the Heater three, Zach McLuckie aka Janus Zebulon. For that, and for doing their first two records on your very own, Permanent Records, we will never forget them. Here's to hoping Cave is "Neverendless". We can see the forest for the trees and this album for what it is, one of the best of 2011!