Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cave In / Perfect Pitch Black / Rating 7.3

Two years later, the band is back on Hydra Head, and while there are a few nods to the Cave In of days past, Perfect Pitch Black is nonetheless a melodic rock album at heart.

My initial reaction to seeing a new Cave In review was something like a Charlie Brown frown. I hate to say it but I expected the review to be riddled with 12 gauge cheap pop shots.

Read PFM’s Jupiter review to see what I mean. Cave In: Jupiter [Hydra Head] Rating: 4.9 - Review by: Ryan Kearney

Much to my surprise I found PFM’s Perfect Pitch Black review to be fairly reasonable and respectable. My only complaint is the final paragraph:

PFM says: “…their creative apex does seem to have come and gone. On the other hand, few bands are capable of weathering so much change while remaining so consistent. Given the obstacles and challenges of their decade-long career, Perfect Pitch Black is a far more rewarding album than Cave In should rightly be capable of producing this late in the game.”

How does one rightfully measure a bands creative apex without actually being a member of the band? Who is an expert in something so utterly subjective? I could just as easily say I liked Pitchfork better 3 years ago and claim their "creative apex" to be a thing of the past but I know better then to pass off my opinion as some sort of fact. I also know anything is possible and tomorrow it all could change; I could love PFM again... and Cody D. Byrom could love Cave In more than ever before.

If PFM has a magic crystal ball that establishes when a band is truly past their prime then I stand corrected.

More so than any other band I know Cave In's fan base is very divided and split up into several different groups. There are the people who only like their first record, I personally like the Jupiter years best and then there are those who worship the new Cave In which as PFM accurately explains “seamlessly intertwines their past and present, experimenting with a diverse array of progressive genres and styles while remaining true to their metalcore roots.”

Live I wish Cave In could divide their set into these three catagories and depending on which record they are playing songs from the crowd could rotate out to give the next group a chance to enjoy themselves. This would also spare me from shirtless kick boxers but I digress.

So what are these “obstacles and challenges” Pitchfork is alluding to?

PFM never followed up with a detailed explanation to back up such a claim beyond a line in the opening of their review and ironically this is actually the ENTIRE theme of this particular Cave In release. Perfect Pitch Black’s liner notes include very personal essays from each band member describing the pressure of trying to make it as a major label band over the span of these few years and how it nearly destroyed the band and their relationships with one another. The story behind this record carries a serious weight and I wish PFM had expanded upon ultimately what makes this particular group of songs what they are.

Perfect Pitch Black was also recorded and left in nearly a raw state to help further erase and separate the band from their over produced major label last record. Cave In has been creatively speaking born again and Perfect Pitch Black was recorded with sense of urgency to get that message across.

I try to be honest as I can on my blog so it seems only fair to further explain that one of my best friends is a member of Cave In. It is difficult to stand back and review their music without the attachment I have to the band as people and as a friend who has been a part of their nearly decade long roller coaster ride. We joke that I am the Cave In archivist because I own every record, every demo, every off-shoot project, solo material…you name it, I have probably have it somewhere on a shelf. So yes, it is nearly impossible to read any review of their music and not want to defend, correct, or expand upon what information is put before me.

There is also a touch of comedy in the fact thata recent review (NOT PFM) contained a typo for the name of their record as being called Pitch Perfect Black. My gorilla marketing campaign is finally paying off, sweet!

Anyhow PFM writer Cody ruined a decent review by these parting words:

Perfect Pitch Black is a far more rewarding album than Cave In should rightly be capable of producing this late in the game.”

Late in what game exactly? Backgammon? Shuffle Board? Twister? A career in rock? Does talent wear a watch?

Cave In may have been a band that started in high school but they are still only in their mid 20’s! They all have a long career in music ahead of them if they so chose. I’d like Cory to say that to artists like Vashti Bunyon, New Pornographers, Sonic Youth, Belle & Sebastian, Deerhoof, Bob Pollard and the members of Pavement, and see what kind of reaction such a silly blanket statement like that would get.

If 20 something is washed up then how many PFM writers are headed out to pasture as I type this?