For their self-titled E.P. release party, Slow Caves, jammed to their closest friends and newest fans in dingy and dark music venue, Hodi's Half Note, in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was clear they liked what they were doing, and the audience danced right along. They're the next young band to come from Northern Colorado, and their youthful potential is apparent in their Slow Caves E.P.
The E.P. begins with drum beats of an arcade game in "Saturns." It introduces a use of synth melodies and highly reverbed vocals, reminiscent of The Strokes. But unlike The Strokes, the song never hits it's peak. Plenty of opportunities arise for the song to catch momentum, but instead of a hard-hitting drum transition, a low-energy bridge doesn't quite make it into the chorus.
That almost-there feeling continues throughout the E.P.--which really isn't a bad place to be for a first release. The band certainly isn't lacking in talent or ideas; instead they're dealing with a surplus of ideas. Slow Caves try to exist somewhere between electronic, synth-pop, punk and indie-rock. Widely different genres that need focus to master on their own.
They describe themselves as somewhere between a high-speed car chase and vintage skateboards, so it's clear they want that West-Coast, casual feel. But Slow Caves need to decide if it's the beachy, chilled-down cool they want, the callous, apathetic demeanor of a punk-rocker or the suspending ease of synth-pop.
"Dandelion Girl" begins with a high-energy drum line and deep-reaching bass line, then slows down with the introduction of the vocals. It stays in this limbo for much of the song, breaking for a guitar solo that brings the energy up only to brought down again with repeated vocals. A pause in the beat, or a change in key signatures would have brought levity to the song.
"RYGOS (Drive)" has that Julian Casablancas, casual slowness. It starts with momentum and the feeling of driving, but because the drum line never fully develops the song ends with a feeling that it never really began.
The last song on the E.P. "One" introduces a completely different style, almost reminiscent of late 1980's shoegaze except for a background house beat. It's danceable, and when performed live, it's one of their higher-energy songs.
Slow Caves hold a great deal of potential, and with the oldest members of the band barely in their 20's, they have plenty of time to find their groove. Instead of throwing favorite elements into just over 10 minutes of music, Slow Caves need to hone in on simple elements, utilize pauses and minimalism and expand on their micro-melodies.
Listen to the full album below: