Recording information: Electric Lady, New York, NY (10/2010-11/2010); Plantain, New York, NY (10/2010-11/2010); Soundtrack, New York, NY (10/2010-11/2010); Stratosphere, New York, NY (10/2010-11/2010).
Photographer: Sebastian Mlynarski.
Cold Cave's debut album, Love Comes Close, was so strong and original, so filled with heart-stopping songs built around hissing electronics and dancefloor-ready beats, that it must have been hard for Wes Eisold and Caralee McElroy to think about bettering it. Especially after McElroy left the group. Despite these changes and the inherent challenges of the follow-up, Cherish the Light Years succeeds almost completely. It's a different kind of record, to be sure; everything about it feels bigger, sleeker, and more assured from the vocals to the production. They sound less like a damaged early New Order and more like the New Order that played in stadiums, with Eisold singing to reach the back rows and the synths swelling around him like fortress walls. It's an impressive sound that the band and producer Chris Coady (who did similar work on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' It's Blitz) have created; tracks like "The Great Pan Is Dead" and "Catacombs" come tearing out of the speakers with a barely restrained fire; the more restrained songs have a depth that was missing from the debut, and the dancefloor-friendly "Icons of Summer" could even be a pop radio hit in some alternate musical universe. It's easy to lament the passing of the lo-fi fragility that band did so well on Love, understandable even. Once you get over it, though, there is plenty to like on Cherish, from the unfailingly memorable songs to Eisold's winningly in-your-face vocal mannerisms. ~ Tim Sendra