Review of Cold Cave's album 'Love Comes Close'
As the delectably risqué Faint song teaches us, 'any sex is personal.' Cold Cave clearly don't hold such beliefs: personal is overrated, emotions are for mere humans. Or at least that's the impression Love Comes Close gives, which is so aloof and robotic it sounds like Cold Cave were whittled out of Kraftwerk's leftover parts. It's no coincidence The Faint have been mentioned - there are parallels to be drawn with their more experimental moments on Blank Wave Arcade.
Lazy comparisons aside though, there's actually very little of the conventional about Cold Cave's make-up. Previously line-ups saw various waifs and strays from noise acts such as Parts and Labour, but now Cold Cave comprises of ex-members of Xiu Xiu, Dominic Pernow (aka Prurient) and Wesley Eiodd, the hardcore scene veteran and publisher who famously became embroiled in a copyright battle with Pete Wentz. It's a far-and-wide collective and as such Love Comes Close benefits from having a variety of different influences on its sound. And what a sound it is: every song is encased in a dense, icy atmosphere. Opener 'Cebe and Me' is jerking and industrial, with wickedly sleazy robot vocals - like a dirty phone call from the speaking clock. Second track 'Love Comes Close' gives a cheeky nod to Ian Curtis with its lamenting, monotone centre and wraithlike synths. In fact, most of the tracks on Loves Comes Close retain this empty 80s futurism (see in particular 'Youth and Lust') but somehow its makers manage to steer it away from simple pastiche.
It's really well realised but initially, it's this steeliness that makes Love Comes Close a little hard to love. If you're looking for something a little more sugary, it's not until halfway through when they begin to thaw out a little: 'The Trees That Grew Emotions And Died' sees them at their most twee, and that's a short-lived experience. But never mind that anyway, sugary is dull. Play it twice and a third time and it will dawn on you that Loves Comes Close has a detached brilliance that should be sought out. In years where pop has become dominated by warbling, heartfelt sentiment it's a nice change to see a group of people who know the value of a scowl and some eyeliner. The songs are clever, their sound is sexy: all in all an impressive achievement for something that could have sounded so tired and derivative.