As much as indie-punk has become a marketable commodity as of late, it’s beginning to suffer from the same low risk, high reward existence as pop-punk and metalcore, in that acts can sound almost indistinguishable from each other and still reap significant rewards. As such, going into Caves’ third album ‘Always Why’ is a difficult task, namely because there isn’t that much on the surface that hasn’t been said numerous times before.
Well, maybe that’s not entirely fair, as the trio do have a couple of standout features, namely a focus on a scuzzier, Weezer-inspired sound that sits as the foundation of tracks like ‘America’ and particularly the tight, heavy bassline of ‘Wait’. In fact, Caves probably share more in common with the rougher side of indie-punk adopted by a band like Vant compared to the rest of their Specialist Subject brethren.
Look past this aesthetic choice though, and everything about Caves falls into place. There’s plenty of ragged, exposed edges in the vocals on a track like ’16’, an abundance of personal, insular subject matter, and the sort of imperfect but quirky moments that you’ll have heard plenty of times from bands exactly like this. And considering this album is thirteen tracks long, it drifts perilously close to running out of steam more than a couple of times.
Really, with this whole album, there’s not much that Caves are bringing to the table that hasn’t already been drilled into anyone who’s interested at this point. It’s not a bad album by any means, and the band still have personality even if it’s not totally unique, but it’s hard not to think at points that Caves are currently treading water.
‘Always Why’ by Caves is released on 28th April on Specialist Subject Records.
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Words by Luke Nuttall (@nuttall_luke)