I was a little late to Cold Cave's impeccably dressed goth dance party, but their 2009 album Love Comes Close became essential listening for me over the past year. It was dark and brooding but also poppy and occasionally even grimly uplifting, if that makes any sense. The kind of uplift where you're getting soaked in the rain but you clench your teeth and keep your stride into the wind anyway, and--bonus--now you have a cool soundtrack for your sad-sackery. Triumphant moping--get into it! Anyway, the group--Wesley Eisbold (formerly of American Nightmare and Some Girls), Dominick Fernow (of Prurient), and Jennifer Clavin (formerly of Mika Miko)--have a new album, Cherish the Light Years, out April 8 on Matador Records, and last week they released its first single, "The Great Pan is Dead."
Immediately, it sounds a lot bigger and more ambitious than the melancholy synth-pop of their last album. The guitars are compressed to all hell (a friend heard an echo of Atari Teenage Riot there, and he's not wrong--there's some noise/industrial/digital hardcore in this track's blood), the beats are quickening, and the (typically) sobbing chorus has a kind of upward-reaching yearning that's loads more animated than anything from their previous album. It makes sense as a first single--it's big and brash and mastered for rock radio, and it's steadily growing on me, but it's not the best track on the new album by a long shot.That distinction belongs to the as-yet unreleased track "Confetti." I don't want to give too much away, but if "Pan" sounds like, say, Robert Smith fronting an EBM band, "Confetti" sounds like a perfect union of prime-era Depeche Mode and New Order. (I told you there would be lazy analogies, didn't I?) If Cold Cave and Matador have any sense (and I believe that they do), they won't allow "Confetti" to linger as only an album cut, but will get it out there as (hopefully the next) single. Either way, I expect this album to be a big one for 2011 (the year goth broke), and "Confetti" is its most epic mope.
Cold Cave play the Showbox May 9 with the Kills and Entrance.