Caves - Betterment (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Betterment (2013)

Yo Yo Records

When the first words of a record are "I don't care. I don't care. Go fuck yourself," you come to expect a certain amount of brashness – an earned direct approach that, simply put, is no bullshit. When taking their career into account so far, Betterment has so much to do with refining what makes Caves, Caves. With most songs under two minutes, Bristol's trio put out a definitive record which you can take or leave, but it's pretty damn fun if you take.

Based on my own working knowledge, Caves are one of the most "feet on the ground" bands around, and I mean that sincerely. They toured both sides of the Atlantic multiple times in the last few years, gaining the reputation of a true DIY mentality, VW bus and all. Their live show is so fun, tight and positive – the result of being dedicated and getting out there again and again in just the last few years. Of course, they wouldn't be doing it if they didn't like it. You can tell they're enjoying themselves, from the song titles to the occasional laughter that opens or closes a track.

After the quick intro, the record picks up with "Build Against," and the classic Caves whoas enter in again, layered over the wailing riffs. If you don't get enough whoas there, check out "Forevero." Lou's vocals are great, and full even when on the shoutier side, like in "Rubino."

The title track is a welcome break, an acoustic number that really makes you feel as if you are sitting in an empty room with them. "Betterment" captures that moment exceptionally well. Putting an acoustic track in the middle of a record instead of the end is a little gutsy, and it pays off. "Run" is a great side B starter, and I find a nice symbiosis in the simplicity of the idea and its succinct execution. Another stand out is the poppiness of "Babyccino"; anything with that "two and (three) four" clap gets me every time. "Ender" closes the record in a big way, after a minute-long dreamier sequence, but it grows leaving you wanting more, which is what you're supposed to do, right?