Rating: 9 / Format: CD/LP / Label: Heartworm
Wesley Eisold you fucking dog. A man of various bands and minor controversies, this year Eisold released Cremations, a 20 track compilation of early material from his latest band, Cold Cave. A mess of broken synths and monologues about the depths of Hell, its aesthetic owed little to synth-pop’s lineage and much to the work of Prurient, Geisha and other such purveyors of white noise-drenched metal, and is still one of the most compelling, obsession-encouraging records to come out this year. And how does Eisold follow it? With an album that sounds like New Order.
Love Comes Close, the official Cold Cave debut album (it’s just been signed to Matador, where it will be re-released in November) is amazing. It’s amazing because everything I expected it to be – a sheet white trip through a ghost house of electrical circuits and grubby mirrors – it isn’t. But mostly it’s just amazing because it’s one of the best pop albums of the year. Sure, ‘Life Magazine’ starts off sounding like the ghost of Depeche Mode rising from a drowning pool of static, but the female vocals are straight out of Heaven, and the ear-worm burrowing chorus is something else. In fact, with its cut up and echoed vocals, tempo changes and closing refrain it’s not a million miles away from something off this year’s Discovery LP.
‘The Laurels of Erotomania’ is even brasher, with its comically bouncy bass and cheapo Game Gear melodies, while the album’s title track lets the synths take a backseat to an 80s radio guitar line and chorus built on vocal harmonies. But despite its direction being a shock, Love Comes Close feels perfectly natural: it’s still very dark, and very Cold Cave: ‘The Trees Grew Emotions and Died’ is as power violence as it is power pop, ‘I.C.D.K”s breakdown sounds like the instruments are being tortured, you’ve got tracks called things like ‘Heaven Was Full’ and ‘Hello Rats’, and lyrics about the synthetic world and twisting the knife. In the early 90s, industrial legends Swans turned their hands to pop music and made some of the best records of all time. Cold Cave’s done the same and made one of the best of the year.