Cold Cave Cherish The Light Years
The problem with too many synth-pop revivalists is that they approach the genre as little more than a cold corpse to reanimate. But Wesley Eisold, the man behind Cold Cave, clearly sees his own synth-pop as part of a still-vital continuum. By that token, Cold Cave’s sophomore album, Cherish The Light Years, absolutely teems. From the blurry, breathtaking opener, “The Great Pan Is Dead,” to the whiplash goth of “Burning Sage,” the album extends every pixilated hook and keystroke hit by Soft Cell, New Order, early Simple Minds, and Black Celebration-era Depeche Mode. Eisold’s previous experience, as a post-hardcore frontman for American Nightmare and the supergroup Some Girls, serves him well here—only he boils that intensity into a husky, smoldering croon that evokes Robert Smith without counterfeiting him. Dripping melodramatic romanticism and burning-hormone urgency, the album takes itself at face value, and then some. But that commitment frees it. Cherish’s big stumbling block squats squarely on the dance floor: “Underworld USA,” the disc’s most blatant bid for club play, gets the fat, filthy beat right. But everything else falls flat, from the Killers-like coating to the nauseatingly repetitive guitar lick, which comes off more like Miami Vice than Marc Almond. It’s just one hiccup, though, in Eisold’s passionate—though lavishly unoriginal—hymn to synth-pop’s heyday.