This Philadelphian quartet is comprised of ex-members of experimental indie/noise-rock bands Xiu Xiu and Parts & Labor, held together by robotic frontman Wesley Eisold. Fans of industrial synth bands like Tubeway Army will find a lot to like on this debut, but despite its sharpness, it's a little too cold to fully immerse yourself in.
Their name is Cold Cave, but they sound more like a band that have recently thawed after being cryogenically frozen in the height of the '80s industrial synth era. Wesley Eisold and co. - there are former members of Xiu Xiu and Parts & Labor among the Philadelphia quartet's line-up - certainly know their way around the most desolate parts of the pop landscape, pilfering from Kraftwerk, The Human League and even Bowie's more foreboding work.
The wavering beat of the title track is an immediate standout, as is 'The Laurels of Erotomania', a pulsating, gothic dance tune that belongs in a dark corner of a Berlin club circa 1989. Ditto to the foreboding tone of 'Hello Rats', a song that spits synthesised zaps across a bubbling cauldron of tension, while the clean lines of 'Youth and Lust' is one of only a few songs here that offers immediate gratification and an opportunity to get your groove on (legwarmers and pointed shoulder-pads essential).
For all their expressiveness, though, there's something about Cold Cave's uber-cool outlook that's a little too clinical to fully warm to. 'Cebe and Me' is reminiscent of the same sort of stunted repetition that Telepathe attempted with their 'Dance Mother' album, and turns up much the same results - a blurry, bloopy number that's hypnotising and easy to admire, but doesn't particularly grab you by the lapels and demands an immediate replay.
Still, a sharp debut, even if it's hard to tell where Cold Cave can go after a debut like this.