Saturday, 26 November 2011

Cave, Neverendless (2011)

So there's a new album from Cave, the Chicago-based psychedelic drone band: more kraut- and space-rock, I’d say, than drone, but I wouldn't want to split hairs. I was alerted to the existence of this album on account of it including a track called 'Adam Roberts'—about me, or some other Adam Roberts—so I bought it. You can, too, here. Very good, it is. No lyrics (the only exception is the band chanting 'on the rise' during the track called, er, 'On The Rise'), and with genuine drive and variety, an expert sense of how far to take the build-up of repetitive musical riffs. Pitchfork think the band has been 'studying up on krautrock for a long time', and praise the 'motorik drive, bass grooves, and Neu!-reminiscent synths.'  That's about right.
They don't settle on one sound: They quiet down, increase the volume, add subtle licks, string airy synths above their guttural guitars, and all the while, establish a few central hooks.
According to that Pitchfork review, the track ‘Adam Roberts’ is the worst on the album. It’s not likely that I’d agree with such a judgement, of course (I like its grinding/driving sound and it's perky little round-and-round organ riff, like an early 90s Julian Cope B-side)—and in fact I’d say ‘O.J.’ is the least attractive, endless in a way that starts to approach interminability, with its perky-annoying little 60s electronic organ riff. It’s jolly, though; it just lacks the splendid drive and build of the opening track ‘W.U.J.’ (which builds very neatly, until lifting off the ground at 2:52). ‘This Is The Best’ is a beautifully, hypnotically worked piece; even the use of a dumb little up-and-down truncated arpeggio in the first section, like the sound emitted by a truck when backing up, doesn’t spoil the mood. The drumming is particularly good throughout. It pleases me that my name, assuming it is my name, has not been taken in vain.


Afront said...

There's been quite a few bands carrying on the Krautrock tradition this year. My favorite is North English band Warm Digits (with their album "Keep Warm... with the Warm Digits") who add a bit more electronica to the mix. If you're on Spotify, it's at:

Adam Roberts said...

Thanks, Afront. I'll check them out.

StuPC said...

A second vote for Warm Digits - and they're amazing live, too!