Within the opening seconds of Wes Eisold’s New Wave-revival project Cold Cave‘s new seven-inch, the listeners know exactly what is in store for them on Oceans With No End. The pleasantly muted synthesizers and punchy percussion give it away, instantly bringing to mind the likes of New Order and The Cure. The style is certainly far from original at this point and, some could argue, a little dated. Despite this, the genuine passion and earnestness with which Eisold performs the two tracks results in an enjoyable nine minutes that wear their influences on their sleeve without mindlessly worshipping them.
The title track A-side is very much what you would expect it to be: a synth-pop song that is catchy but reserved, well-crafted, and very enjoyable overall. The uptempo beat mixes well with the melancholy, primary melody provided by a mix of fuzzy guitars and slightly distorted synths. This all proves to be a near-perfect backdrop for Eisold’s shockingly strong Robert Smith-esque moan. The only thing that doesn’t neatly fit into the established New Wave mold is the production, which places the vocals fairly low in the mix, and this effect is heightened as the song progresses towards its fade-out conclusion. The result is a distant, almost submerged feeling that is perfectly in line with the watery imagery implied by the title.
B-side “People Are Poison” carries on right where “Oceans With No End” left off. Once again there is a strong synth lead that combines with a swirl of distorted guitars and electronic beats. The primary difference is that, this time, the vocals are in a lower register, which combines well with a slight increase in the amount of fuzz in the guitars. The subtle variation in production, instrumentation, and performance all create a track that is slightly darker than its A-side counterpart, but just as memorable.
As a whole, Oceans With No End serves as a pleasant, bite-sized offering of what Cold Cave has to offer. The project has definitely developed into something more than just a surprisingly good side project from American Nightmare’s frontman, and it is evidenced by this latest seven-inch. While certainly less than creative, the two songs are engaging and enjoyable listens that are just genuinely good.