CAVE: Neverendless

Jedd Beaudoin
Photo: David Crunelle

This Chicago quartet dishes up some fiendishly good and imaginative compositions on its third full-length.



Label: Drag City
US Release Date: 2011-09-20
UK Release Date: 2011-09-19

This Chicago outfit gets up to some fascinating playfulness on this, the group’s third full-length. Opening with the freewheeling, feathery fist-in-the-face “WUJ”, a track driven by a propulsive throb that calls to mind Hawkwind and Neu!, the five-song platter never relents in its stunning and ceaseless need to drive listeners somewhere, anywhere.

Much credit has to be given to the rhythm section of Dan Browning (bass) and Rex McMurry (drums) who offer those driving elements with the thankless consistency of a trusty washing machine. However, the droning keyboard layering of Rotten Milk (doubtless his birth name) and the super psychic guitar playing and organ ooze of Cooper Crain don’t hurt things either. It really comes down to that aforementioned playfulness, the sense of humour that drove Krautrock masters Can and even the self-mythologizing Robert Fripp, who can still teach us a thing or two about what it means to arch and wiggle one’s musical eyebrows every now and again.

That humour is largely at the core of the 14-minute -- need it be said? -- epic “This Is the Best”, in which the band gently tests the listener’s patience by stretching sonic repetition to its logical extension, nigh on the breaking point. But there’s something about the way these lads do it, something about the shouts and yells and childlike nature of the track that makes it impossible to walk away from. Those same factors make “Adam Roberts”, with its decidedly disco/world vibe, all the richer for its intelligence and ability to thrust the listener into the center of a future populated by a music that is unfettered by anything that approaches the familiar.

If there’s anything here that smacks of standard post rock fare it is perhaps the opening measures of “On the Rise”, but even those familiar feelings are rendered unfamiliar by Crain’s ridiculously imaginative guitar figures and the trusty Browning/McMurry axis. (Also, where some groups are comfortable remaining silent, allowing the chiming guitars and pounding drums to do the talking, these lads offer some hypnotic chanting that only adds to the Pow! Zing! of the whole bleeding track.)

Any of band of this ilk is really only as good as its epic numbers and thus it’s appropriate that the album culminates in the blunt bashing of “OJ”, with its ‘60s-inflected organ and a sonic insistence that’s more relentless than a bear in heat. And with that the whole record is over what seems like far, far too soon. (At 40 minutes, Neverendless can hardly be called a sliver of a record.)

However, this is ultimately a record built and driven by a sense of awe, a sense of wonder and an inventiveness that should keep this quartet running for a long, long time. It’s not hard to imagine that CAVE will soon ascend to the majestic heights of respect of fellow Chicagoans the Sea and Cake and Tortoise. CAVE certainly isn’t doing the same thing as those bands, but it’s equally imaginative and equally thoughtful and for that alone it’s certain that this is a band worth noting. Don’t miss this.






Literary Scholar Andrew H. Miller On Solitude As a Common Bond

Andrew H. Miller's On Not Being Someone Else considers how contemplating other possibilities for one's life is a way of creating meaning in the life one leads.


Rodd Rathjen Discusses 'Buoyancy', His Film About Modern Slavery

Rodd Rathjen's directorial feature debut, Buoyancy, seeks to give a voice to the voiceless men and boys who are victims of slavery in Southeast Asia.


Hear the New, Classic Pop of the Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" (premiere)

The Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" is a pop tune, but pop as heard through ears more attuned to AM radio's glory days rather than streaming playlists and studio trickery.


Blitzen Trapper on the Afterlife, Schizophrenia, Civil Unrest and Our Place in the Cosmos

Influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Blitzen Trapper's new album Holy Smokes, Future Jokes plumbs the comedic horror of the human condition.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Fire in the Time of Coronavirus

If we venture out our front door we might inhale both a deadly virus and pinpoint flakes of ash. If we turn back in fear we may no longer have a door behind us.


Sufjan Stevens' 'The Ascension' Is Mostly Captivating

Even though Sufjan Stevens' The Ascension is sometimes too formulaic or trivial to linger, it's still a very good, enjoyable effort.

Jordan Blum

Chris Smither's "What I Do" Is an Honest Response to Old Questions (premiere + interview)

How does Chris Smither play guitar that way? What impact does New Orleans have on his music? He might not be able to answer those questions directly but he can sure write a song about it.


Sally Anne Morgan Invites Us Into a Metaphorical Safe Space on 'Thread'

With Thread, Sally Anne Morgan shows that traditional folk music is not to be smothered in revivalist praise. It's simply there as a seed with which to plant new gardens.


Godcaster Make the Psych/Funk/Hard Rock Debut of the Year

Godcaster's Long Haired Locusts is a swirling, sloppy mess of guitars, drums, flutes, synths, and apparently whatever else the band had on hand in their Philly basement. It's a highly entertaining and listenable album.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.