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Cold Cave - Cherish The Light Years

An accomplished record.

‘Cherish The Light Years’ opens with the blast of ‘The Great Pan Is Dead’ and for a few seconds it sounds like Cold Cave founder Wesley Eisold has reverted to his roots in hardcore, until the synths rise up above the driving guitar buzz.

After Cold Cave’s 2009 debut album ‘Love Comes Close’ it is no surprise that 80s influenced darkwave synths and drums are a common theme on their new record. But so too is Eisold’s reflection on his past and what occasionally sounds like pre-middle-age panic as he comes to terms with the loss of youth.
Writing about ‘Cherish The Light Years’ before it was released he said: ‘It’s a love letter to the path that has led me to where I am now, to loss and love and friends and enemies and the dizzied and blurred ways of the world. It is about magic, preservation, youth and movement.’

What comes across is the impossibility of preservation and having to deal with movement away from your younger years. The lyrics are packed with references to the passage of time, from ‘This was easy when we were young and free but now we are anything but either of these’ in ‘Pacing Around the Church’ to ‘The precession’s ahead / the heart is behind / the future is fleeting / I’m out of time’ in ‘Catacombs’. And with Eisold taking on nearly all of the vocals it does feel like a more personal album than their debut. Where ‘Love Comes Close’ took a distanced and slightly melodramatic analysis of ‘Youth and Lust’, ‘Cherish’ faces up to some harsher realities.

What makes it such an accomplished record is that despite the lyrical soul searching the music is so accessible. There is none of the space or lightness that was found on their debut, instead the songs have dense pop structures that fall somewhere between Cabaret Voltaire and Depeche Mode. There are aching melodies, new wave guitars and occasional flourishes such as the trumpets in ‘Alchemy and You’.

With ‘Cherish’ opening with one of its strongest tracks it also closes on one of them. The steady verses of ‘Villains of the Moon’ explode into an anthemic chorus, which is even more effective for having one of the few contributions from female vocals on the album.

If this is an album of Eisold exploring recent musical and personal history perhaps his conclusion can be found in the record’s title. Although some eras, experiences and people are impossible to return to, if you’re still young enough make the most of the good times.

Tags: Cold Cave, Reviews, Album Reviews

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