Cave Rave is instantly catchy and euphoric even, but it’s lacklustre, despite its soaring melodies.

The Spanish/English six-piece released their debut Star of Love in 2010 and received a bunch of mixed reviews. Three years in the making, Cave Rave is their latest offering. Although they’ve added a synth or five, it’s hard not to feel like they’ve fallen back on their old tropical formula of summery riffs and pummelling beats with generous injections of heavy electronic bass. Cave Rave opens with ‘Wave’, an aptly named song given the tumultuous layers of glossy synths rolling out continuously. Yet these waves of synths never recede, it’s a constant tirade. The ceaseless assault of synths, runaway drums and tribal chanting proves to be a running theme.

There’s hardly any subtlety with this record – it’s nauseatingly gaudy. The shimmering synths and altogether tropical wonderland aesthetic makes Cave Rave the sort of album you hear at a house party in the other room without a DJ. Considering they released the sporadic explosion that is ‘Xtatic Truth’ and the folky/grimy blend of ‘Swallow,’ Crystal Fighters haven’t reached the potential their previous critics had hoped they would.

Cave Rave is a jungle of confused sound without any refinement or direction – but that’s not to say it doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. The second half of the shimmery record yields more honest moments with ‘These Nights’ and ‘Bridge of Bones.’ The latter offers a change of pace with its heavy handed keys and wistful lamentations: “It’s been so long out here drifting all alone/lost in a wild place no sign of hope/so I write you with love from the wide ocean.” It’s the most honest and least self-indulgent track on there.

2.5/5

BY SHARON YE

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