People throw the term ‘pretentious’ around, applying it defensively when what they mean to say is ‘those book-reading wankers are talking about something I don’t understand’. You could picture someone going home from Madame Jojo’s and calling Cold Cave pretentious, which would be a bit unfair; what they are, or what they emanate, is a slightly awkward sense of self-conscious cool. Tonight though, this is shattered by a truly pretentious or maybe deluded member of the audience (a very drunk, lost-looking man pretending, very loudly, to be a fire engine), who makes the serious stage-look hard to take seriously. They don’t do a bad job music-wise, kicking off with tracks from ‘Love Comes Close’ then diverting to older songs and a few from new EP ‘Death Comes Close’ before returning to the LP and its title track, which draws a welcoming cheer. Something is lacking though. Songs on the album where the vocal is satisfyingly cut into ribbons seem beyond their current live set up and so go unplayed or uncomfortably rehoused. ‘Laurels of Erotomania’ in particular feels in need of an overhaul, as Wesley Eisold is unable to reach the lows of the vocal and so sings it an octave higher in an emo whine and its synth and drum tracks come over a little euro-house. Unfortunately the show serves to poke-wider the holes you thought you could hear on record.
By Edgar Smith
Originally published in issue 13 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. December 2009