Rough Trade East + Lexington, London
April 4/5, 2011
In a long black leather jacket and hoodie and stacked heels, Cold Cave’s Wes Eisold looks like any other kid you see in Camden on a Friday night, except that he’s not and it isn’t and before he even opens his mouth, you’re thinking “wow, that leather jacket really is the shit” and it is. It’s also a special day for 80’s synth-obsessives Cold Cave, as Eisold curtly informs the assembled at Rough Trade Records – “Welcome to our album birthing day”. Their second album, the strangely positive sounding Cherish The Light Years showing a marked change from the same Cold Cave that played London back in May 2010. No longer a three piece with bandmates Dominick Fernow and Jennifer Clavin forming a united synth front, it’s now Cold Cave Mk.2 with additional guitar and drums with Eisold stepping up to assume the frontman mantle proper. It’s Cold Cave out of the dark ages and into the light years.
There was almost a near run-in with Cold Cave at Matador at 21 in Las Vegas last October, but jet-lag and their 2am show in the ballroom in the Palms Casino was missed due to sleep. Who goes to sleep in Vegas? We do. It’s a shame as it would be interesting to get one last look at the pre-vamped Love Comes Close-era Cold Cave, as the difference between their lo-fi sounding debut and its polished Chris Coady (Beach House, TV On The Radio) produced brethren is another kind of beast entirely. Playing a slightly expanded version of the instore set at their appearance at the Lexington the next day, Eisold has seemingly dismissed all notion of the past, neglecting to play the more recognisable tracks from Love Comes Close to focus on Cherish The Light Years material. Given the new-ness of the band, which this tour has been breaking them in, you wondered whether this decision was intentional or practical.
Regardless, their 9-song set showcased the strength of …Light Years. Opening with “Pacing Around The Church”, the deft synth-pop slick-ness of Cold Cave oozes out. Hi-hats rattle and synths trumpet up a fanfare and the band bursts into life as if switch was suddenly turned on. Having been centre of stage in his previous bands before, the vitality present in the new material opens up the stage to Eisold and he becomes this towering force that half prowls the stage, half stands still, staring dead-eyed into the distance. The juddering roar of “The Great Pan Is Dead” where Eisold digs into his hardcore past and the New Order circa Get Ready pop of “Villians Of The Moon” showed what makes Cold Cave such a curious and enticing prospect, but with a short set and no encore and with little love shown from Love Comes Close, Cold Cave left you wanting, in more than one way.