Chicago psych-rock troupe Cave have always been capable of striking a middle path between free-sailing wah-pedal-fueled abandon and good taste, but the quartet’s third album, Threace, finds them exercising even more restraint than usual.
Formed in 2006, Cave has cycled through two cities—relocating to Chicago from Columbia, Missouri—and a number of musicians, but its sound has remained fairly consistent. The quartet draws heavy inspiration from German experimental rock music of the late 60s and early 70s, particularly rhythm-driven outfits like Can and Neu!. Cave’s compositions are sprawling, but tightly focused, employing simple major-key melodies to sustain the rhythms section’s hypnotic grooves. On previous LPs like Psychic Psummer and Neverendless, the band perfectly emulated its idols—nailing the recording techniques, the tonalities, and the playing style of continental Europe’s finest vintage head-music. On Threace, the group’s second full-length for Drag City, Cave’s heart still beats to the motorik pulse, but they’ve broadened out their repertoire to include some of the other groovy, stoney sounds of the 70s.
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