CAVES: Betterment: CD / LP

This is the sophomore album from the U.K.’s Caves and although it retains the band’s distinctive and slightly chaotic sound, it has taken a swing away from having a bit of a poppy edge to something that has a bit more grit and grime; laced as it is with more of a garage punk quality, at times, yet without losing the melodic bent that has always underpinned the band’s music. It’s still undoubtedly a Caves recording but, hell, the gears have been shifted somewhat to create an all-consuming sound (aided by a quality production job by the current “go to” guy here, Pete Miles) that slays from start to finish—even the acoustic number packs a punch. What I love more than anything are Dave Brent’s drums. They crash, they bang, and they most certainly wallop, as he performs in a way that Animal would be proud. Don’t worry, it’s all part and parcel of the songs, nothing is gratuitous but it really stands out to me. With Jonathan Minto slapping his bass around whilst adding vocals here and there, the rhythm section provides the structure that allows Lou Hannam to give her all, scratching away at her six strings whilst using her cacophonous voice to drive home the songs. If this band were from the U.S.A., us Brits would be urging them to come over and play for us. As it is, we’re proud to say they’re one of ours and all eyes should be looking to this tiny island. Although as frequent visitors to the U.S.A. for The Fest and a handful of other shows, Caves should not be missed if you get the chance to see them. The CD is available via Bombed Out and the LP via Yo-Yo.

 –guest (Bombed Out, [email protected], bombedout.com / Yo-Yo, yoyorecords.de)