Review Summary: A more subdued, controlled sound has not limited Caverns
Caverns lied. They weren't supposed to release any new music until they were ready to release an LP. Also, they aren't a math rock band either. We Lied
doesn't feature a lick of the sporadic guitar work that, in part, defined Kittens!
(that isn't to say guitar isn't present, it simply isn't as unpredictable and high key). The trio technically isn't even a fully instrumental anymore either, though you won't be able to discern anything "vocalist" Kevin Hilliard says through heavy vocoder effects. But that's alright, really, We Lied
is excellent. That isn't to overstate anything, though; the EP isn't that
different from past efforts. For one, the cover of the Frodus b-side, "December 12, 2012" hankers back to the heavy guitar presence on previous releases. But more importantly, what separated Caverns from their contemporaries was the inclusion of Patrick Taylor's piano work, an element that was not only unique in itself, but extremely effective. Although We Lied
is more subdued than Kittens!
, Taylor remains the focal point of Caverns' sound.
"Arctic Phantoms" is the perfect exemplification of the EP's direction; espousing atmosphere over technical prowess, Caverns makes an almost flawless transition to rhythm-based sound. The predominance of Taylor's downbeat melodies makes for a darker listen than much of Caverns' older work, while Ross Hurst's programmed beats make for a unique twist. "Surprise!" and "I. Fight. Vampires." are even more atypical; the former utilizes a repetitive piano loop for much of its runtime, before climaxing in a creepy, yet dynamic sounding guitar/piano interplay, while the latter is a moodier piece that experiments with a variety of intricate stylings. Most significantly, each of the above tracks demonstrates the greatest strength of We Lied
: its creativity. Although some elements aren't immediately noticeable (at first, I mistook the vocoder in "Arctic Phantoms" and "I. Fight. Vampires." for some strange synth noises), We Lied
is a meticulously crafted collection of songs that is a lot of fun to listen to. Whether or not Caverns maintains the sound they have going here, return to their math rock roots, or experiment even further remains to be seen, but chances are, it will be worth looking out for.