The process of paring-away can reveal the power of purity and simplicity in music, or it can reveal the essential flimsiness of a band’s entire approach. Cave’s LP Neverendless mostly does the former, with just a smidgen of the latter. The Chicago quartet’s early records—especially the near-perfect Psychic Psummer—called back to early-’70s art-rock, emphasizing rhythm and psychedelic fuzz. Neverendless is heavier, groovier, and much less eclectic. The album’s five songs stretch and build, but the prevailing method here is repetition of riffs and beats for minutes on end, creating a sound halfway between hypnotic drone and sweet tension. Sometimes these songs—nearly all instrumental—sound like overtures for the epic rock album that Cave is disinclined to make. But the advantage of Neverendless’ approach is that when Cave breaks from intricate pattern-making and just rocks out, arena-style (as on the album-opener, “WUJ”) the moment of release is all the more satisfying because of the long wait. And when Cave steps on the gas and keeps driving forward on the 14-minute “This Is The Best,” the sense of infinite open space is awe-inspiring.
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