This soft sleight of hand, shifting the mood, is indicative of the subtleties that make Caveman such a rewarding band.

One of last year’s most underrated albums, for me, was Caveman’s debut, CoCo Beware. It didn’t get a lot of press, and when it did the reviews were middling. I could understand the criticisms of the Brooklyn band’s debut, which played it a little safe and might easily be written off as a nice but mild listen.

The lack of dynamics in their music can make for an underwhelming experience at first, but the restraint of the compositions eventually proves to be their greatest asset. Holding back from being over-emotive, they let the elements simmer away together, resulting in music that sounds like a less complicated Here We Go Magic or a pulled-back Local Natives.

Caveman’s new, self-titled release is a moodier collection than their debut, its songs plagued by denial, isolation and uncertainty. Despite the gloomy disposition, they still know their way around a good tune and bed down their strongest compositions early in the album with the hypnotic sheen of single ‘In The City’ and the slow-building, pessimistic ‘Where’s The Time?’.

The album is bookended by the songs ‘Strange To Suffer’ and‘Strange’, and there’s little to separate the two apart from the closing track losing ‘to suffer’ in its title and adding the lyric “It’s not forever”, along with a more settled, comforting percussion.

*** 1/2 out of five stars


Caveman is out now on Fat Possum/Shock.

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