Cave: Threace

Highly compelling set from Chicago art-rockers.

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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.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.