Caves: Betterment – album review
Caves: Betterment (Bombed Out)
CD / Dl / LP (LP to be released on Yo-Yo Records)
Bristol pop-punkers Caves return with a polished second album before major tour of UK, Europe and US.
I was delighted to receive a copy of Caves 2nd full-lengther on the back of many recommendations from gig-going friends of mine. Since their inception in 2009 the Bristol 3-piece has been tirelessly gigging the length and breadth of not only the UK but also Europe and the US. With a handful of 7” split releases and a debut album under their belt here they are with ‘Betterment’, the proverbial ‘difficult’ second album.
With the whole album lasting 26 minutes start to finish, it has a youthful energy and vibrancy you would expect from a band on Leeds melodic hardcore label Bombed Out. With no song over 3 minutes this is breezy, upbeat pop-punk with no room for indulgence or pointless guitar noodling. The double vocal attack is full of harmonies, and what it doesn’t always have in technical perfection it makes up for in charm and likeability. The song ‘<3 Koala’, clocking in at 2.41 mins is a stand out, not least for the wonderful Hammond organ which underpins the crescendo of the song. The title track is a stripped back acoustic number which has a real vulnerability about it.
If I was being picky I’d say some of the songs can merge into each other a little at times, but hey, if you’ve got a formula that works – and it does – then if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If you want reference points then you’re not a million miles away from Superchunk crossed with any number of bands that emerged with that snotty but emotional pop punk sound on the American No Idea label.
Caves follow this release with a 30 date tour around Europe and the UK throughout September / October, and will finish the tour by flying the flag for the UK at legendary punk rock gathering, The Fest in Florida. In Caves, we are well represented.
Those live dates:
5th Lady Luck. Canterbury, UK w/Southport
6th Monk’s Cafe. Lille, France
7th Privat. Cologne, Germany
8th Juzi. Gottingen, Germany
9th Secret Space. Hanover, Germany
10th Rote Flora. Hamburg, Germany
11th TBC. Berlin, Germany
12th TBC. Leipzig, Germany
13th Café Na Pul Cesty. Prague, Czech Republic
14th Triebwerk. Wiener Neustadt, Austria
15th Sub. Graz, Austria
16th Juz. Erlangen, Germany
17th Haus Mainusch. Mainz, Germany
18th TBC. TBC, France
19th Canadian Cafe. Tours, France
20th La Miroiterie Paris, France w/Apologies, I Have None + The Smith
21st TBC. Caen, France
22nd The White Lion. Watford, UK
23rd The Blueberry. Norwich, UK
24th Santiagos. Leeds, UK w/Antilectual + Timeshares + Dividers
25th Central. Newcastle, UK w/Pure Graft
26th TBC. Edinburgh, UK w/Pure Graft
27th Wahl Bar. Manchester, UK w/Great Cynics + The Smith Street Band +
Pure Graft + Bear Trade
28th Boozey Du @ Red House. Sheffield, UK w/Pudge + Pure Graft + more
29th Practice Room. Gloucester, UK
3rd The Exchange. Bristol, UK w/Crazy Arm + Great Cynics + Lauren Denitzio
4th Black Heart. London, UK w/All Eyes West + Lauren Denitzio
5th 15 Years of Bombed Out @ The Brudnell. Leeds, UK w/Dugong + The
Dauntless Elite + Wooderson + The Amistad + more
31st THE FEST 12. Gainvesville, Florida
1st THE FEST 12. Gainvesville, Florida
2nd THE FEST 12. Gainvesville, Florida
3rd THE FEST 12. Gainvesville, Florida
All words by Peter Campbell. More of Peter’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.