Love Comes Close got its initial release as the first ever album to be launched by the publisher Heartworm Press – the day job of founder Wesley Eisold – so it’s a measure of the debut LP’s sell-out success that its dark undertones make their way across the pond through indie mainstays Matador Records. Behind the graffiti and eccentric make up of the cover you’ll find unsubtle tinges of late 80s rhythmic electro, blended with ample life-enhancing (if barely distinguishable) lyrics. According to the blurb this album muses on romance, desolation and nihilism, though the sparse vocals here are more instrumental than poetic; if you can pick out more than the odd word amongst the downbeat synth-pop you’re doing well.
You’ll probably not be too worried, though: it’s the pulsing vibe and dingy yet memorable layering that keeps Cold Cave on high rotation. There are infectious modern-electro moments like the intro to -Life Magazine’ (a drawn out, tuneful loop followed by echoing vocals), as well as tracks like -Youth And Lust’, which sound like long lost Soft Cell bought to life with up-to-the-minute vocal trickery. Cold Cave certainly do a great job of disguising the fact the band is made up of largely hardcore musicians; the only hint of their bellowing past to be found here is in the pounding intensity of it all; manifested without even the lightest hint of a growl.
A clear highlight is title track -Love Comes Close’, a song with an instantly familiar opening beat and a hint of Joy Division meets Arcade Fire to it, with both distinct melancholy and a haunting line in drawn-out, toned-down backing tunes. The album on the whole, though, is a clever blend of male and female vocals, markedly modern and minimalist, and occasionally edging into the spoken word in adding the final poppy melodies to a synth-heavy style. Despite the odd slip up (don’t base your opinion on the first track, as opener -Cebe and Me’ is uninspiring), does a great job of announcing a tempting new slow-electro talent. The only complaint is at just over half an hour, there’s not quite enough of it.