Montag, 3. Februar 2014

Caves. One band. One EP. One word: invigorating.

Tracklist: 01. Oh Amy - 02. Swim - 03. Newark
There is this one question most bands and musicians have trouble to answer, even though it's an essential one, one that defines and outlines their music, that puts their being as musicians in concrete terms. What music do you embrace? Simple as that. Yet to narrow down one's genre, or to give an insight in what music, which artists have influenced the forming and progress of bands is difficult, tricky. Most musicians don't claim only one genre to be theirs, they have come up with a more or less clever combination of some, draw inspiration of many, interpret music at times more, at times less inspiringly. You need to be content with an evasive, not exactly satisfying answer as plenty bands won't specify their sound in greater detail to you, unless you follow up on it. Dare to ask, to dig deeper and you might eventually be 'enlightened'. You might eventually be given an answer, but will you be more in the know of a band's sound afterwards? That's another the question. Especially since 'indie' as reply is fast at hand. Indie rock. Indie pop. Indie (sub)genre xy. However, indie is no genre. Neither is this attempt to label one's sound claryfying at all. As much as indie suits to qualify an ethos, an attitude, a situation musicians embody and find themselves in, being their own producers, managers and promoters, it doesn't to determine one's colour of sound, one's musical direction. You see deciding on one's sound, may it be its tendency, disposition, may it be its 'definition', is not that easy, as pronouncing it might 'bind' to a specific genre, a specific arrangement of songs, might raise certain expectations both the musicians and the listeners develop. In the end it's a fine line between defining and confining.

CAVES [f.l.t.r.:] Jon Huntley (bass guitar), Andy Pink (vocals/rhythm guitar),
Dan Carney (vocals/lead guitar), Daniel Walsh (percussion) 

Maybe that's why bands try to class with original terms to describe, to define their music, simply in order to elude definite labelling. They thereby give a hint of what their music sounds like, what the audience is exposed to, yet avoid to emphasize a concrete genre or timbre. Allowing bands to experiment with their sound within an enlarged, but not too widespread scope, eventually to find their individual sound whilst composing, during an improptu session or rehearsal, often brings their musical vision into being in the first place, makes them realize and agree on what musical path to strike. The liverpool located band Caves has adopted a not less vague term as 'indie' to distinguish their sound: new music. With this broadly defined predicate, given in their facebook biography, the foursome drafts a certain perception of their sound - it implies a refreshing, brisk, daring theme, innovative even - without designating their music's essence in-depth. It's what arouses interest, curiosity but what also gives them the chance to surprise, to make their musical debut a severe experience for both the band and the audience. It's eventually what gives them space to venture, to take a chance, to wander through the vast music landscape, to perceive diverse melodic shapes, to express themselves by concretizing their 'musical image' step by step, song by song. Debuting their EP 'One' Caves succeed in not only revealing the core of their sound by degrees, but also in brisking up today's musical monotony with spirited, keen songs, with inspired compositions, which bear an impetuous and gripping momentum already, but for now lack an inspiring constant. Nontheless the band is on the right track with their fierce and fiery, dynamic and bold, simply put, with their fresh sound - and 'One' gives an audible and imposing testimony to it.

                                                                     CAVES - Oh Amy (live at Zanzibar in Liverpool, 17th May '13)

'Oh Amy, don't you know you make me, you make me smile' - with sharply echoing, bold and flaring vocals of both tonal clarity and pungeny, Andy Pink introduces the EP's first track in an atmospheric and already absorbing manner. As a listener you can't help but grin about this characteristic yet audacious musical lead-in that is backed by an unstable, still exciting and trenchant guitar arrangement in places. 1,2,3,4 - fast-paced, now spirited riffage and dynamic drum beats salute you and you are fully drawn into the song, are even more tangled up in the musical vortex that is 'Oh Amy' as vibrant and rapid guitar riffs, exciting and rousing drum sequences, a severely reverberative and deep bass line are intensively mingled with an expressive and rising, almost grungy vocal performance. At the point the song approaches its glowing and keen closure, the foremost fierce and tingly vocal lead is differentiated by adding high-spirited and ardent polyphonic elements, and it shows that the track's incisive feature is the nuanced and forceful array of vocals. '.. cause I know deep down in my soul, one of these days you'll be mine' - the listener though may be taken in by the band's music even now, being offered a refreshing, evocative but also accessible and catchy composition.

                                                             Official music video for 'Swim' (feat. Dominic Dooley)

Tangible, audible tension is created as soon as sonorous, imbuing drum beats and forceful, dim riffage rise and herald the forthcoming song. Whilst the tense and prompt instrumentation gains both strength and speed, the tonal tension is deepened, then resolved as Dan Carney takes the vocal lead. Vigorous, electrifying and feisty vocals determine the song's rhythm now, the former swift, almost ecstatic instrumental arrangement grows stronger, is marked by intense and fuzzy guitar riffs, by vehement drum beats and sets up the emphatic chorus for a second time. Carney's vocal performance adopts a sweeping, brisk colour of sound here. 'Swim' eventually flows into an erratic, dashing but accentuated instrumental finish, one that is pieced together in chime and carries the listener along with its energetic, rapid compositional current.

Impetuous, vivacious drum beats, bright, obtrusive and staccato-esque guitar riffs reach for the listener, melt into a melodically unleashed, upbeat, still smooth sound of frisky, buoyant vibe. This frisky vibe is strongly embodied by Andy Pink's cocky, blithe yet edgy vocal performance, which is shortly after backed by a high-pitched and haunting vocal extension, brought to the audience by Dan Carney. 'We can do this alone or we can do this as two' - and Caves do it as two, highlighting the disparity of timbres and adopting an exhilarent vocal colour, as Dan takes over the lead and enhances, alters the listening experience 'Newark' has offered thus far with his light, flickering vocals. It's an avid, pungent and more stimulating tonal atmosphere now. Exuberant and orotund trumpet melodies complement the rich and perky, overall vivifying melodic setting of the song - which is defined by dashing drum beats and elated riffage - and segues into a tense blend of vocal harmonies. '… but you know it ain't that easy, (don't you know by now?') always getting what you need' - in this case though it is: expecting lively, stirring, dynamic and catchy melodies, the band's music, especially 'Newark' serves the listener well and pleases easily.

In sum, it's no 'new music' the liverpool based foursome presents with their debut release. It's alternative, authentic and brisk music with cleary recognizable pop traits - catchy hooks, blithe sound, memorable lyrics. It's neither inciting music the band has come up with, it's distant from being psychedelic or progressive even, yet it's exciting and electrifying one as Caves establish a refreshing approach to and dynamic execution of music by combining pop elements easy to grasp with edgy rock features, thus showcasing slick and shiny, exhilarant pop compositions with a rocking, rousing undercurrent, a sharp core of sound. It's unquestionably an eye-catching, audience-grabbing music mark the band has made with 'One' - the spark is ignited, the listener is electrified yet not fully on fire. It's certain to tell, to predict though that Caves have the fiery passion for, the blazing sense of music to make the audience catch fire with their energetic and infectious beats and melodies in the long run. Hence here's to chapter TWO.

Reach out to the band and listen to their brisk and energetic music on: 


Get a physical copy of 'One' here.

Your next chance to see Caves perform: The Zanzibar, Liverpool. Feb. 21st. doors 8pm. 

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