Being Cool Isn’t Cool, Which Is Cool
New York has long been a major center for new developments in music and is widely regarded as the greatest city in the world by almost all New Yorkers. Caveman is one of the more interesting bands to come out of the Big Apple recently, and they’re doing more bucking than following with regard to the city’s musical tradition.
Everyone knows that New York is cool, and this arrogant little factoid has led many bands in the past to put on too-cool-for-school airs, like their many predecessors. Dating back to before the earliest days of punk rock, New York always seemed like the mecca of cool. This can be good and bad, as it encourages new music at every turn, but also causes many bands to put image first. Caveman, and their self-titled second album, are about as anti-cool as a band could be.
And it’s really refreshing.
It’s not that they’re actively trying to be uncool, because now that’s cool too. What sets Caveman apart is that they put their music first. Caveman is an album that blends shoegaze atmosphere with ’90s alternative spirit and tinges of both modern and vintage art-rock influences. Their sound is heavy on harmony and reverb, creating a warm wall of sound that’s stronger than most of the bands touting this kind of indie sound today.
Songs like “Shut You Down” and “Where’s the Time” are pop friendly enough to sound like a moody take on the Beach Boys; while it’s not the kind of music that immediately catches the ear, it still has a lasting appeal that many modern bands lack. Caveman’s vocal work is as strong as their instrumental backgrounds, and gives their sound an artistic appeal that brings old greats like Brian Eno and David Byrne to mind. Words that are both clear and meaningful, like the ones you’ll hear on Caveman, seem to be growing rarer each day.
Caveman is a strong second album from a band that, thankfully, appears to be more concerned with making good music than it is with looking cool. In a city of 8 million bands, it was only a matter of time before a winner turned up. Let’s give a hearty cheer for bands that think more about their guitars than their shoes.