Turning back time

Cold Cave have brought the 80’s back in all of its synth-pop glory

Cold Cave are bringing the 80s back.

Photo courtesy: Sebastian Mlynar/Cold Cave

Cold Cave are bringing the ’80s back.

by Sally Hedberg

WHAT: Cold Cave with the Kills

WHEN: 6 p.m., Thursday

WHERE: First Ave, 701 First Ave. N., Minneapolis

COST: $16

The synthesizer had its heyday 25 years ago. The danceable hits of groups like Duran Duran, The Human League and New Order became iconic of a decade and generation that, aided by MTV, was shaped into the âÄúsecond British invasion.âÄù

Riding off the trails of Zeppelin-era rock âÄônâÄô roll, synth-pop manifested the rampant counterculture in music. But it came and then it went. It was the product of a cultural zeitgeist that, no matter how beloved by modern musicians, could ever be replicated to its truest forms.

That is, until Wes Eisold formed Cold Cave in 2009, turning the latter statement on its head completely.

The New York City group, set to play in Minneapolis Thursday, has reclaimed the synthesizer and tapped into the âÄô80s in such a way that even Simon Lebon would approve.

âÄúI think itâÄôs really just a total obsession with that kind of music and honestly caring about it,âÄù frontman Wes Eisold said. âÄúAs a kid I always bought records. I would save all of my money to buy that music because it just made sense to me.âÄù

While it may have resonated for a lifetime, it wasnâÄôt until the incarnation of Cold Cave that Eisold was able to live out his musical dreams. Contrary as it may seem, most of his past musical involvement lies in the realm of hardcore punk and noise-rock bands. But as evidenced by their latest LP, âÄúCherish the Light YearsâÄù heâÄôs found his niche.

âÄúEvery band IâÄôd ever been in before I was at the mercy of others,âÄù Eisold said. âÄúI would write lyrics for songs that were already written for me. This is by far the most gratifying because I got to make it myself.âÄù

The album instantly projects an air of uncanny nostalgia, like it was discarded under a pile of Depeche Mode records in 1986 and rediscovered only weeks ago.

EisoldâÄôs deep, fortified vocals are both pained and firm against the multifaceted layers of catchy synth foundations. On the single âÄúCatacombsâÄù he further engrains the themes of nostalgia with wistful vulnerability and driving percussion. Fittingly enough, the nine-song compilation takes a cohesive look at EisoldâÄôs own past.

âÄúItâÄôs exploring the idea of nostalgia,âÄù Eisold said. âÄúItâÄôs drawing a line between the positives of remembering the people and old houses or places, and the negative being that you can devote too much time to thinking about it, living inside your head and heart for too long.âÄù

ItâÄôs complicated subject matter thatâÄôs executed well, largely due to the fact that that Cold Cave tends to not over think things beforehand. Rather, they ride the wave of their own ideas.

âÄúI think a lot of people understand the themes before they start making the music and thereâÄôs a very clear intention,âÄù Eisold said. âÄúI never have that. ItâÄôs always afterwards when I can separate myself for a minute and can see exactly what happened.âÄù

But the themes of their music arenâÄôt really what Cold Cave has to worry about. Though critics have lauded their music thus far, the fact remains that the band is relatively unknown and theyâÄôre playing music that too many will find outdated.

It could be difficult to fashion a career that remains innovative out of mere nostalgia. So far, however, Cold CaveâÄôs inherent talent is enough to keep you content to dwell on yesteryears, so itâÄôs entirely possible that they could.