Monday, April 4, 2011

Cold Cave

Cherish the Light Years

Matador Records

This is a brilliant fusion of Siouxie and the Cure, with a bit of New Order and Joy Division mixed in for detail, coloring and shading. Bandleader Wesley Elsold even sounds a bit like a deeper voiced Robert Smith. Cold Cave has the same musical drive, flow, and fullness as the best Siouxie/Cure tracks, but not as goth lyrically. It is also very poetic, since Elsold has published his poetry with Heartworm Press.

Lyrically the album looks back on where Elsold has been, and where he’s going, it is inspired by his move to New York, and the nighttime walks he took soon after moving to the city. The urban feel of these songs shines in “Underworld USA,” “Icons of Summer,” and the album’s best track “Catacombs.”

The album isn’t perfect. The last three tracks’ energy level flags, and there is a whiff of cheese on “Confetti,” which sounds as if it could have come from the first Till Tuesday album. Nevertheless, this is very good album, one that looks both fondly back on the 80s musically, and forward lyrically, which is a great combination. []

Andrea Weiss

Alela Diane and Wild Divine


Rough Trade

Musically, this is a wonderful fusion of Neko Case’s more recent work, and what Katrina and Nerissa Nields were doing on their album Sister Holler. It’s rich, and full bodied, quiet, and understated, that can be a bit surreal at times, and in the end, succeeds nicely.

Lyrically Diane combines poetic imagery that is a bit off kilter, very moving, full of love and life, death and dreams. But her writing is never dark, never mournful, just a message that life goes on, maybe not as expected. Live it as best as you can.

This album is a big improvement over Diane’s debut, To Be Still, where she sketched the rough outlines of what was to come, and not much beyond that. On her new one she comes into her own. It’s wonderful, it’s thrilling, and all great. []

Andrea Weiss

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