Caveman - Caveman
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Caveman - Caveman




The sun is permanantly setting in Caveman's music. Caveman is the New York band's new self-titled album, their second on Fat Possum Records, and the follow up to 2011's initially independently-released debut Coco Beware. It's the synthesised psych-folk sound of a life falling apart.

Admidst the echoing guitars and drifting synthesisers, lead singer Matthew Iwanusa sounds like Brendan Flowers if you took away his golden suits and Springsteen records. He even sounds like James Mercer when he's singing in a higher range. Fittingly then, Caveman sounds like it could be set in Las Vegas or New Mexico just as well as it could be set in the burning neons of New York. But Iwanusa's songwriting on Caveman is more similar to a songwriter from a different continent again.

'It takes strength to be gentle and kind' Morrissey sung on 'I Know It's Over'. It's this kind of submission that is prevalent on Caveman. 'I waited my hatred out' Iwanusa sings on the slow unwind of 'Shut You Down'. 'Where's the time to waste on someone else's life? / Still he's not afraid to try' he then sings on the stormy and atmospheric alt-country 'Where's The Time', sounding like a hazy version of Dawes.

The anxious 'Chances' then follows, asking if this submission to another person is worthwhile. It's melodic guitar riff perfectly mirrors the vocals, creating a powerful, self-reflective effect. 'Don't want to waste my only life if I'm already losing you' Iwanusa pleads. It's scary stuff, and the song ends by wrapping itself under a warm blanket of synths.

The recession of emotion sweeps through the remaining tracks on the album. 'I wear no secrets anymore' floats up like smoke from the slow-shifting bass and and bright synth flutters of 'Ankles', while 'Do I wait to wonder / If this life's too far gone?' Iwanusa cries over the heavy groove and Joy Division guitars on the aptly titled 'Pricey'.

It's when Iwanusa stops asking questions and addresses his lover that album highlight 'I See You' shines. Acoustic guitar provides the main backing, with the best synth line since Coma Cinema's 'Her Sinking Sun'. 'Love me like I know you can so I won't fight my enemies' he sings. It's a short song, but it's everything that's needed.

Surrounded by the swirling desert expanses of tracks like 'Over My Head', it's this pleading emotion that separates Caveman from becoming a self-indulgent (or synth-indulgent?) psych-folk album, and saves it from cathartic angst or depressing feelings of similarly synth-heavy projects like Coma Cinema's Blue Suicide. The albums' closing and opening statement 'Strange To Suffer' explains it all: 'Strange to suffer / Why do these people turn away?'

Caveman, while occasionally lacking in variety, probably makes a great driving album. It's shimmering, gliding synths, like on 'In The City', will make any reflective surface look magical and cinematographic. It's beats are slow and full of cascading release. Hopefully you'll make some good life decisions while listening to it.


Here's an album highlight, 'Shut You Down':


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