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Cave: Threace

Highly compelling set from Chicago art-rockers.

Copping a trick from the Stones, Cave promoted the release of their last album by playing live on a moving flatbed truck, and they unveiled Threace while meandering down the Chicago River on a sturdy old boat.

These episodes say much about their leftfield, and their music. Cave are all about churning grooves and ever-shifting scenery, their wonderful instrumentals disappearing around hidden corners and often re-emerging as something else entirely.

Sweaty Fingers starts out with a taut rhythm, then gets all loud‘n’lairy after settling into a cyclical guitar riff. Silver Headband morphs from German motorik to distorted metal boogie without leaving a join, while Slow Bern is a more ambient form of 70s kosmische. The interplay is frequently dazzling, especially between guitarists Jeremy Freeze and Cooper Crain (who also plays organ), with and Rex McMurry equally au fait with precise rhythms and freeforming experimentation.

At times, Threace feels like a postmodern vision of the history of popular music, from the funk-jazz wah-wah of Arrow’s Myth to the blazing psych-folk of Shikaakwa. Bloody marvellous, really.