ave In didn’t seem like major label material. Former hardcore noiseniks, they struck many right chords with their completely different Jupiter in 2000 and managed to reinvent their sound without losing any worthy fans. Garnering a slew of new fans and a whole lot of press, they managed to swing a surprising deal with corporate monster RCA/BMG. Home of The Strokes and Foo Fighters, BMG is known more as the company responsible for its bad taste in pop acts, giving us the likes of Justin (who has become something worth hearing now), Britney and everything from those terrible Pop/American Idol no talents. Knowing that, what on earth would some suits at a major corporation want with some young punks from Boston who specialize in intergalactic prog punk?
Continuing where the left off with last year’s excellent Tides of Tomorrow EP (their last release for hardcore label Hydra Head), Cave In has managed to create an album that doesn’t sound too underground for the mainstream; continues progressing their sound into something unlike anyone else; and presents a well polished version of what they can sound like with some dough behind them.
Antenna sees the Cave In sound becoming something bigger than it ever has. With the help of producer Rich Costey, the band has made their riffs more crisp, heavier and even more spaced out, while at the same time, adding a hint of melody that was toyed with on the preceding EP. The prime example that covers all that ground is “Anchor”, a song that almost reaches levels of Grohlmanship. Singer Stephen Brodsky’s vocals are another newly refurbished element. Whereas he may have had the flair of screaming once in a while in the past, Brodsky’s become a true harmonious lead singer, with his vocals receiving more attention and taking on a strong lead role.
The album has many strong points of reference that cover the total Cave In sound. “Seafrost” is easily the most prog they get here, stretching the song into a nine-minute epic of dreamy proportions. “Lost In The Air”, rerecorded from its previous release as a single, sounds superior to the original and closer to an anthem for the album. The only place Antenna seems to lose its way is in “Beautiful Son”. Unable to fit in anywhere in the tracklisting, its acoustic differences and U2-friendliness (Brodsky doing a Bono and Adam McGrath becoming The Edge on guitar) make it a slight error in judgment on their part to include it, but its nothing unforgivable.
Antenna sees Cave In succeed in major label land. The record gets straight to the point about their changes, which only really sees them become a better band and more experimental with their mind expanding musicianship. Cave In’s music is still heavy without resorting to their early days; emotional without becoming emo; and so inspirational they have a song called “Inspire”. Anyone interested in unpredictable, gigantic riff rock leading in every which sonic way, here is your guide.
Reviewed by: Cam Lindsay
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01