Cold Cave at the Larimer Lounge, 4/11/11
With Force Publique
04.11.11 | Larimer Lounge
My companion's flowery dress was almost comically out of place amid all the black at the Larimer last night, as local and national representatives of the darkwave revival took the stage for some synth-heavy brooding. It'd be hard to think of a Denver band better suited to opening for Cold Cave than Force Publique, the up-and-coming duo of Cassie McNeil and James Wayne, whose music mines similar territory, though the archness and drive of the band's sound is more Ladytron than Depeche Mode.
Aaron Thackeray Cassie McNeil of Force Publique
It's well-trod ground, to be sure, and the songs the band played all stuck to the template laid down by debut "Still Falls Apart" -- twitchy bass lines, heavily compressed drum machines, synth freakouts woozy with LFO -- but for a band that just played its first show a few months ago, Force Publique is already remarkably polished, and McNeil's voice, a steely alto that punctuates every phrase with a brief flurry of vibrato, gives the band's sound a distinct stamp. And, hey, the duo played a longer set than the headliners did!
Aaron Thackeray James Wayne of Force Publique.
The teasing brevity of the latter set -- just seven songs, over in scarcely more than half an hour -- may have been due to the fact that Cold Cave will spend most of its U.S. tour as an opening act; the band, whose current live incarnation, according to frontman Wesley Eisold, is still a bit green, may have been reluctant to put together a longer set for the couple of shows it will headline. But it certainly would have been nice to see Cold Cave take the opportunity to stretch out a bit, because it was enjoyable enough last night that the rush to get off the stage was a bit of a letdown.
Aaron Thackeray Check out the full Cold Cave slide show
I went to the show last night hoping to be more fully won over by Cold Cave's new material. Debut album Love Comes Close suggested a compelling niche for the band with its blend of noise and chilly new-wave hooks, and while Eisold's transformation of Cold Cave into the second coming of late-'80s Depeche Mode on new album Cherish the Light Years yields some thrilling results, the sometimes-juvenile bombast of the new material makes the band sound less distinct.