FROM THE CAVE – EP Review: “City Life”

From the Cave City Life

As I’ve noted previously in other posts, one of the best things about being a music blogger is getting to know a lot of really wonderful artists and bands. One of my favorite indie bands is London-based alternative rock outfit From the Cave. With a singularly unique and eclectic sound drawing from a broad range of influences, including punk, pop, shoegaze, blues, funk and ethnic folk, they have a distinctive sound like no other band I’m aware of. I love their music, and have featured them on this blog several times over the past few years. They’ve previously released two EPs, their self-titled debut From the Cave in 2016, and Medieval two years later, which I reviewed last September. Now they return with their third EP City Life, which drops on 30 April, and which I’m pleased to introduce to my readers.

Comprising From the Cave are the wildly creative front man Kristian Møller-Munar, who plays guitar and sings most lead vocals, Mikaela Lindgren on vocals, keys and percussion, and Joshua Scriven on guitar and vocals. Each of them is a major talent in their own right, actively involved in all aspects of the creation of their music, including songwriting, playing instruments and singing, and as they continue to mature, so too does their music. As its title suggests, the songs on their new EP have an edgier, more sophisticated vibe, and deal mostly with topics that are current and socially relevant. City Life was written and produced by the band, and expertly mastered by Tim Debney. The songwriting, instrumentation and arrangements are all superb, sounding better than ever, and all three band members’ vocals and harmonies are marvelous.

The first track “Get a Life” is a scathing take down of someone who’s always complaining and whining, yet doing nothing to solve any of their problems, and you’ve had just about all you can take of their bullshit.

It’s just mind games and control
It’s just plain dumb lack of soul
Get a backbone, get a grip
Your self-importance makes me sick
Get a life! (Cause I’m really fucking tired of your shit though)

Besides the great, brutally direct lyrics, the song’s really interesting from a musically standpoint too, with a catchy, trap-like beat and an exotic Eastern European folk vibe in the chorus. The spacey synths and jangly guitars are great, and I love Kristian’s deep vocals with his Danish accent, backed by the all three members’ harmonizing choruses. The clever and colorful animated video was created by Kristian, who does a fantastic job on all their videos.

Freedom” seems to suggest that freedom comes with a price, enabling us to fall victim to our darker instincts. The song starts off on a fairly light air with a funky beat, but eventually turns more menacing, with sinister synths and a harsh, almost foreboding drumbeat. As always, the guitar work is brilliant.

Have a Nice One” really showcases From the Cave’s impressive musicianship, with an enchanting strummed mandolin taking a starring role, and once again, their vocal harmonies are absolutely sublime. The positive song lyrics advise us to not beat our heads against the wall trying to change things over which we have no control, and instead just try to enjoy our lives:

Don’t worry about the things you can’t change anyway
They float as they like, and then they go away
Don’t try to fix anything
Have a nice one, have a nice one

The band changes things up a bit with “City Lights“, a gorgeous and sultry song that’s my favorite track on the EP. From the opening zing of spacey synth, I love everything about this breathtaking song – the shimmery chiming guitars, ethereal synths, entrancing drumbeat, and most of all, Joshua’s captivating vocals, backed by Kristian & Mikaela’s dreamy backing harmonies. Thought I’m not certain about the song’s meaning, to my mind it seems to celebrate the allure of the city and the romantic spell it casts upon those who surrender themselves to its possibilities.

The rousing, uptempo track “Justice” sees the band taking a political stance, calling for people in our sharply divided society to open their minds to a broader point of view, and try to find common ground so that we can hopefully solve some of the problems plaguing society.

You hate the news and you hate a long a drive
You don’t like the things that will waste your time
You love your mum, and you love your son
You love your dog, and you keep your gun
We’re not alike, we’re still the same
We shouldn’t have to feel ashamed
We feel so wrong, we feel so right
A common ground is worth the fight

Forgiveness is missing
It’s like it’s been beaten to pieces
And the middle, and justice is kicking and kicking
Living for the living, for the living right now

City Life is another fantastic release from this amazingly talented band, and proof that their creativity and musicianship keeps growing ever better and stronger. That makes me very happy, as I hope they continue making music for a long time to come.

Connect with From the Cave:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes / Amazon

FROM THE CAVE – EP Review: “Medieval”

Medieval EP Art

London-based From the Cave is one of the most distinctive and special bands I’ve come across, and I know a lot of bands! Their very eclectic style of alternative rock covers a broad range of influences, incorporating punk, pop, shoegaze, blues, funk and ethnic folk elements into their exuberant mix. They debuted with their self-titled EP From the Cave in 2016, and in 2017 began releasing a series of singles, some of which are now included on their new EP Medieval, which dropped on September 10. I’ve previously featured two of the tracks – Halloween and “Cavalier” – on this blog, and am now reviewing the EP.

Band front man Kristian Møller-Munar says the EP is “a big hug to all their influences and puts them in one place where they can express themselves.” As such, each track is totally unique and completely different from every other track on the EP, making for a fresh and surprising listen. In addition to Kristian, who plays guitar and sings most lead vocals, the other band members are Mikaela Lindgren on vocals, keys and percussion, and Josh Scriven on guitar and vocals. Johan Crondahl (bass, percussion and backing vocals) and Anton Vysotsky (drums) also played on the EP, but recently left the band to return to their home countries, so From the Cave is now a three-piece. The bass and guitars for “Medieval”, “Halloween” and “Wasting Time” were recorded by Jules Gulon.

The EP kicks off with the rousing title track “Medieval (Pánico)” a delightful high-energy Latin-rock tune. Fast-paced riffs of scratchy guitars are paired with Anton’s assertive drums and swirling synths to create a powerful backdrop for Kristian’s commanding vocals, which are sung in Spanish, one of his two native languages (he was born in Copenhagen and partially raised in Majorca). The word Pánico signifies that there’s no reason to panic. The guitar work on the track is electrifying, and I love the harmonic backing vocals. It’s a fantastic song, and Kristian said it’s one of the tracks he’s most proud of.

Cavalier” was inspired by a London cabaret bar the band members have frequented, and basically tells a saga of falling in love with one of the waitresses there. The band employs all kinds of exotic synths and strings, including guitar and violin but also possibly zither or mandolin, to create an intriguing Eastern European sound that’s incredibly catchy and marvelous. Kristian’s vocals are captivating as he expresses his frustration that the object of his desire keeps rebuffing his romantic intentions. “I could be your cavalier if you like me. I’m sitting by the cabaret but you don’t mind me. / But angel, I’ve been waiting for long. Still I’m writing you songs.” I love it!

Next up is “Joshstafari,” a reggae-infused rock song inspired by an encounter Kristian had with a homeless man on the street while living in Hammersmith. The track opens with strange synth noises and a frantic guitar riff, then a rising choral yell signals a change in tempo to a languid reggae beat as Kristian begins to tell the tale of Joshstafari. I love his vocals, which sound so different on each song. Here, he seems to channel a bit of Sting, consciously or not, as if in homage to the early Police reggae tunes. The guitar work on this track is fantastic, speeding up then slowing down as the track progresses. In the bridge, Josh lets loose with a scorching punk-like guitar solo, then everything slows back down to a relaxed reggae beat in the outro.

Kristian has produced brilliant, imaginative videos for five of the six tracks on the EP, which I strongly recommend my readers check out on the band’s YouTube channel. Here’s the one he made for “Joshstafari”:

The hauntingly beautiful “Halloween” was actually my first introduction to From the Cave’s music, and I loved it at first listen. The song was written by Mikaela, and addresses the theme of death in a general sense, as in the death of a relationship or friendship. The track starts off with quiet, mysterious synths and plucky guitar accompanied by gentle percussion and a soft chorus that set a lovely tone. Mikaela’s beguiling vocals enter as the music swells with shimmering synths and layered chiming guitars, and Kristian’s vocals join in, harmonizing beautifully with Mikaela’s. The guitars, bass and drums become more intense as the song progresses, making for a dramatically sweeping soundscape that raises goosebumps. Be sure to watch this magical video:

Maybe Not Today” is a straightforward but upbeat pop-rock anthem about putting off an inevitable breakup of a relationship for another day: “The energy when we’re combined, always leaves me magnetized. So how could we still give it up. Maybe not today oh.” The final track “Wasting Time” is a sunny and carefree-sounding pop song with somewhat darker lyrics about remaining stuck in a less than optimal situation. “There’s a million voices telling me that I’ve got to get away from this empty space.” It’s catchy as hell though, with sparkling synths and jangly guitars, and the lovely harmonizing vocals of Josh and Mikaela are oh so pleasing, a word that perfectly describes the entire EP. It’s absolutely sublime, and a testament to the band’s fearlessness in creating music that strays beyond the alternative rock box. I adore From the Cave.

Connect with From the Cave:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes / Amazon

FROM THE CAVE Release a Brilliant Video for “Cavalier”

From the Cave Cavalier

London-based From the Cave are quickly becoming one of my favorite indie bands. The amazingly talented quintet play a unique style of alternative rock that seems to incorporate an eclectic mix of funk, pop, shoegaze, punk, blues and Gypsy influences. They released their self-titled debut EP From the Cave in 2016, and in 2017 began dropping a series of new singles. Last fall I reviewed their beautiful “Halloween” and the gorgeous video they produced for the song (which you can read here). They’ve just released a new single “Cavalier” that will be included on their upcoming EP, and have produced a fantastic new video for the track.

The five-member band consists of Kristian Møller-Munar on vocals and guitar, Mikaela Lindgren on vocals, keys and percussion, Josh Scriven on guitar and vocals, Johan Crondahl on bass, and Anton Vysotsky on drums. “Cavalier” is a delightful love song with a rousing Gypsy dance vibe. The band employs all kinds of synths and strings, including guitar and violin but also possibly zither, cimbalom and/or mandolin, to create an intriguing Eastern European sound that’s incredibly catchy and wonderful. Kristian’s vocals are captivating as he expresses his frustration that the object of his desire keeps rebuffing his romantic intentions. “I could be your cavalier if you like me. I’m sitting by the cabaret but you don’t mind me. / But angel, I’ve been waiting for long. Still I’m writing you songs.”

Like their two previous animated videos, this one was also created by Kristian, who’s clearly a skilled and highly imaginative videographer. The trippy, psychedelic imagery is intensely colorful, and tells the story laid out in the song. It starts off in a cabaret, where the band is performing the song. Suddenly the cabaret seems to be swallowed by a creature, then we’re taken into a series of tunnels that are possibly the creature’s insides. We quickly return to the continually shape-shifting cabaret, in which the protagonist appears to be floating aimlessly, possibly symbolizing his sense of futility and feeling adrift in the situation. It’s brilliant and I love it!

Connect with From the Cave:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud
Purchase: Bandcamp

 

FROM THE CAVE Release a Gorgeous Video for their new single “Halloween”

From the Cave

From the Cave is an alternative indie rock band based in London, UK, and on 31 October they appropriately released a stunning new single “Halloween,” along with an equally stunning video. I’m only getting around to featuring it now, as I just discovered it a few days ago. I was instantly blown away by both song and video, which is quite honestly one of the most interesting and visually captivating videos I’ve seen in a long while.

The five-member band consists of Kristian Møller-Munar on vocals and guitar, Mikaela Lindgren on vocals, keys and percussion, Josh Scriven on guitar and vocals, Johan Crondahl on bass, and Anton Vysotsky on drums. They released their self-titled debut EP From the Cave in 2016, and in 2017 have followed up with a series of singles, the fourth of which is “Halloween.” They plan to released a full album in early 2018.

From the Cave2

“Halloween” starts off with quiet, mysterious synths and plucky guitar, followed by gentle percussion and a soft chorus, then Mikaela’s lovely vocals enter the proceedings. The music swells with added synths and layered jangly guitars, and Kristian’s vocals join in, harmonizing beautifully with Mikaela’s. The guitars, bass and drums become more intense as the song progresses, making for a dramatically sweeping song that raises goosebumps.

I may be off-base, but my take on the song’s meaning is that it’s about a relationship where the partners are hiding behind a mask of sorts, unable to be open or honest with each other – hence the title “Halloween.”

I try to see you from the outside
But you were hiding in my mind
I’m walking over to a brighter light
The door is closed I hear a voice
Do we ever have a choice?
Halloween Halloween

The gorgeous and intensely colorful animated video, which was created by Kristian, shows a vehicle traveling across an ever-changing fantasyland of earth, water and sky. It’s like a psychedelic trip through the Land of Oz with Harry Potter and his friends. I love it!

Connect with From the Cave:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud
Purchase: Bandcamp