CAVE | Threace | New Music Review
You’re listening to Threace, and you’re smoking a hand-rolled tobacco joint and drinking mescal from a vintage mason jar and proclaiming it the True Agave Spirit of the South; your record player was bought used and old, you tell anyone who’ll listen; you’re bemoaning the death of the open road in modern times while you sit in circles amongst the likeminded in your New Amsterdam meatpacking district loft. I know all this, yet the scene’s alright by me this time.
CAVE’s third release—dig the title?—was presented to me with all the markings of another hipper-than-thou funky acid long player (presented by Creem). From the band:
“Threace is an album that appeals on all levels: animal, abstract and alien, and all at once; one multi-colored-circa-2013 grab-bang... Recorded on a 1” 8-track Scully machine that may or may not have spent some quality burn-in time at Muscle Shoals, Threace was half-planned and half-jammed using different mic placements, building up from a basic set of as few mics as possible. Then, they got out the razor blade and... well, this isn’t the Rolling Stones! They used it to cut tape (and realities) together into a metro-musical albumen that’s only started to flower in this world.”
Alright, now that that’s over...
Despite their best efforts to be too cool for any school that’d have me, I found myself really getting in on the jams while I was writing some overdue pieces needed elsewhere—(unfortunately my Smith-Corona’s busted at the moment, otherwise this’d be textbook hunt-and-peck music)—and I’m what you’d call selective (some might say pretentiously ornery) about such things, so good on ‘em for that, give the gents a couple points already...
To be specific, the set borders frantic Beat jazz with whipped snares keeping time up to the precipice of low ‘70s sludge rock—and back and forth she rambles n’ shifts. CAVE’s apparently done away with their lifeblood organs in favor of pawned six-strings, and the result is—I hate to admit—captivating. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve skipped my fair share of middling improvs just to claim that I reached the supposed ‘climax’ of some of these niche jammers; Threace encouraged me to no such ends. Subtle where it needed to be, religious when the fever struck, this album pulled all the right punches and nailed all the right hooks to kill any dead space that usually lingers in similar releases.
If I had to notch a lone track from the list (and I wouldn’t—the five on here play real nice together), I’d have to say “Arrow’s Myth” does it for me. Tasteful, still bristling woodwinds riff over sludgy crunch for an organic Beatnik experience that could still play in a fifty-max dive on the outskirts of Sioux Falls—that’s something.
When the set winds down, everyone can leave the scene to “Slow Bern,” the quiet bastard child of “No Quarter” if John Bonham was still wide awake toward the end—swan song for a Chicago sound that, in reality, never quite was.
Like no-name cheap tequila, I always approach these self-lauded indies with plenty of salt on my gums. But CAVE’s got me with this one—they’re good in my book. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be a bit slower to judge the next book by its coverage...
... probably not, though.