Cave-In CD review [Hydra Head]

Music Reviews
Cave-In CD review [Hydra Head]
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Jan 30, 2007, 16:25

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CAVE-IN Perfect Pitch Black CD

You can have too much of a good thing. When it comes to crafting an “album,” meaning a series of images that tell a particular story (a convention that started with books of collected photographs, then it was extended books containing a series of 78 RPM discs comprising a single work—originally extended classical pieces; when all that music could be fit onto one Long Playing disc, the appellation “album” was retained) there does seem to be a practical limit to either the listener's attention span or the artist's ability to stay focused… or both!

Cave-In's latest, Perfect Pitch Black is loaded with attractive, hard-hitting tracks (primarily compiled from earlier recordings) that run a fairly extensive stylistic gamut, from sexy Zep-tastic riff rockers to rambling instrumentals to poppy, modal psych-rock, chunky, hook-filled punk rock etc.  The good news is that they tackle all with equal aplomb: lots of emotional gusto, solid writing skill and expert musicianship; you gotta love the primary vocalese which occupies a space somewhere between Robert Plant and Chris Cornell. YUM! The only fly in the ointment is the occasional intrusion of a second vocalist who insists on affecting the de rigueur black metal bellow (an aesthetic grace note that had lost its tang and force, as of the second Dark Throne album). But that's only a minor caveat, and doesn't ruin it as a whole, you just wish it weren't there.

So what's the bad news? Well, Perfect Pitch Black functions primarily as a passel of songs—more like listening to the radio or an iPod set to shuffle—than an album. If you're playing it in the background (does anyone actually sit down in front of their stereo, or with earbuds in or whatever, and pointedly listen to an album in its entirety anymore?) it's too easy to lose track of who or what you're listening to; it seems like the output of a series of artists, not any one in particular. Mind you, “they” all sound allreet! And if that was Cave-In's intent they achieve it quite admirably. In all, not an aesthetically pointed piece, but in the end, it's up to you whether this is a good or bad thing. [Hydra Head]

-Howard Wuelfing

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