No one could have predicted this: Wesley Eisold, owner of a publishing house called Heartworm Press, and a guy who has writing credits on more than a few Fall Out Boy songs (Pete Wentz loves to steal dude’s poetry), has gone and restored all the dark splendor of synthy post-punk that was washed away by turgid efforts by, among others, the Editors and She Wants Revenge. And he’s done it with one album, Love Comes Close, the best majestic and dark post-punk album since who knows when.
It only takes five minutes of Love Comes Close to realize Cold Cave’s reference points here: Joy Division and the Depeche Mode songbook. But somehow Love Comes Close rises above the parody it could have been, mainly due to the reverence for the source material, and the embracing of lo-fi and dance-music histrionics that allows Love Comes Close to sound current while referencing the old.
The title track is the clear highlight; Eisold’s Ian Curtis-croon is buried in howling Casios and programmed drums, while the tempo is set somewhere between “Tempatation” and “Blue Monday.” The sinister “Hello Rats” and “Heaven Was Full” are close behind, with “Hello Rats” having Eisold sounding like he’s transmitting his tale of death from instead the darkest room imaginable, and “Heaven Was Full” finding him barking like a torture victim underneath an oozing militaristic boom. Eisold’s voice isn’t the only one here, though; former Xiu Xiu member Caralee McElroy lends her disaffected, robotic wail to about half the tracks here, giving sinewy tracks like “Life Magazine” and “Youth and Lust” a tender emotionality.
Look, if you’re seeking out the latest flavor of the month or are looking to see where this chillwave shit is going, Love Comes Close is probably not high on your list. But spin this thing once and it’s hard not to become engulfed in the aesthetic gloominess and seedy milieus Cold Cave are delivering here. They’ve reportedly already moved onto a bigger, club-ready sound, so catch them here while they’re still relatively small.