Cave Painting – Votive Life

Cave Painting are a Brighton band. What’s more, they’re one of the most promising acts out of our fair seaside town in some while. They’re really, really good – and it’s about time we shared them with you guys.

 Incredibly, without us knowing it, we’ve tried to share them with you before, back when they were under a different guise. As all mention of it has been scrubbed from the annals of Cave Painting’s rather mysterious history we assume what we are about to scribble down isn’t meant to be spread too far, but it’s with relish that we discovered that, once upon a time, when this blog was in it’s infancy, Cave Painting ran by a different name. Rob The Rich. The very same Rob The Rich that’s Label Fandango release ‘Better’ made it’s way into our Songs Of 2010. It was like our own musical sixth sense moment. Maybe not as impressive as finding out Bruce Willis is a ghost but nonetheless, discovering one of our old favourite Brighton band became one of our new favourite Brighton band without us even realising was a pretty cool moment.

Quite honestly. this revelation didn’t even really increase our focus upon Cave Painting’s behind-the-scenes race up the musical ladder, one who’s rungs we had been counting since their wonderfully polite invitation to a free gig at Brighton Pavillion some months ago. Successful they may not be just yet, but having been signed to music behemoth Mercury’s indie offshoot Hideout Recordings, the current or former label of other HMCMB favourites David’s Lyre, and Various Cruelties, it seemed a lot was in store for Brighton’s own. Having now heard their debut album, to hit shelves very soon, we can see why. But we’re not as convinced as we were. Let us explain.

Don’t get us wrong, Votive Life is a solid debut, thick with the atmosphere and tribal drums that has always defined Cave Painting, but it just feels like something might be missing. There was a reason we fell in love with their sound and meticulousness, and somehow it just doesn’t seem to translate wholly to their album. This one’s a slow burner, and not immediately accessible, and call us simpletons, but we just can’t break through that membrane of accessibility quick enough to see this making any major mark on the current indie scene.

If you’d believe it, really a positive as much as a negative. This isn’t an album made by individuals striving for stardom, this is a beautiful sonic experience carved by musical artisans. In fact in that sense it shares a similar niche to Alt-Jay’s kooky debut. There’s a lot of musicality here, from the quirky instrumentation throughout or minimalist take on the tropical drums all too often played to death in the tropical pop movement that’s popularity seems to constantly fluctuate. The already well loved tracks ‘Gator’ and ‘Rio’ do meet their match on several occasions from the woozily distorted guitar of ‘Pair Up’ and epic breakdowns of ‘So Calm’, but as a cohesive product, it just feels like somethings missing. The sound carries an aura that sends chills down your spine, but in some cases falls a little flat through a lack of variety. It’s probably our lofty expectations that got us feeling this way, but nonetheless, that’s how it felt.

Maybe it’s the new found knowledge of Cave Painting’s history, or just our neanderthal love of the often scorned wonders of accessibility and energy, but somewhere it feels like something is missing. We enjoyed Cave Painting and will no doubt continue to listen to their debut and of course if anything changes we’ll let you know. Is it a good album by some great artists? Definitely. Did it get us all a flutter like we dreamt it would? Yes but not wholly so. They’re still one of our favourite Brighton bands, we’ve just reigned our predictions in a bit. Make sure you give Votive Life a listen and decide for yourself.