Review Summary: An EP that not only promises great things but also serves as the ideal stepping stone in the transition from hardcore outfit to experimental alternative rockers.
How often nowadays does one hear the story of a band shifting gears to pursue a new sound or promising experimentation on an upcoming release? Of course it would seem the natural course of musical expression is to move forward but how many times does the desire to change override the need to? Too often do artists force this progression, perhaps leading themselves down a path that may not be the best direction, and the results end up feeling rushed, pretentious, or just plain regressive. Perhaps this is why it is a much needed breath of fresh air whenever change comes when we least expect it in ways we couldn't have anticipated.
Even if it is a bit confusing, Cave In's Creative Eclipses
acts as that breath of fresh air, the kind that furrows brows and captivates ears all at once. Resulting as somewhat of an accident from a handful of tracks intended for a compilation that never came to be, it left some listeners of the earlier albums scratching their heads. Abandoning the thrashing, aggressive nature of Until Your Heart Stops
, and perhaps a number of previous fans in the process, the tracks on this EP instead offer of variety of experimentation otherwise unexplored in a past release. From a dreamy ballad of sorts to extended periods of arrhythmic sonic walls and even a Failure
cover tossed in for good measure, one could easily make the presumption that this is an entirely different band. Although, considering this as the first recordings of the group as a four-piece (with Brodsky playing guitar and contributing vocals), this may not be far from the truth.
From the get-go, Luminance
rides in against drum rolls and a landscape of spacey guitars that collapse into riff-laden distortion not unlike a pause of something heard before from the band. There is a noticeable change in sound however not only in the distorted tones alone, but even more so in the absence of a brutal, screaming vocal delivery and the introduction of mostly clean vocals otherwise only hinted at in previous records. That being said, the track could
serve as what until then had been a traditional Cave In approach, even if just a "lighter" sound than perhaps expected.
Clocking in at just under two minutes and serving as a following segue the buoyant, meandering Sonata McGrath
swells and subdues against watery echoes of feedback and somber ambiance. It seems to be but a preview for the EP's closer Sonata Brodsky
which stretches to nearly eight minutes exploring and expanding this cavernous sonic journey. With no percussion and no immediately recognizable traces of clean or uneffected guitars, both Sonatas creep and drone along languidly, feeling much like a greatly expanded experimentalism touched on in the segues of Until Your Heart Stops
. Between the two, as if in stark contrast, lies the aforementioned Failure
and the short but sweet Burning Down the Billboards
, a dreamy acoustic number that simply features a guitar and Brodsky's vocal harmony.
When it's over, anyone who very much enjoys the harder edges of Cave In may be asking themselves, "So is that all?". No over-distorted chugging guitars or screeching, growling vocals or thundering drums? Well, as a matter of fact... no. Creative Eclipses
stands in the shadow of no other release and, at best, feels like a faint nostalgia in the sense that some of these ideas have already been glimpsed at before. What sets it apart are the lengths to which they are explored and developed, even if only in something as subtle as featuring a single acoustic guitar or as fluid as ambient experimentation. The fact remains that these tracks, though very different, are far from where the band began but yet also leave a great deal of promise for what will come next. Such is the nature of true progression.
Burning Down the Billboards