Caves – ‘Betterment’

By Tom Aylott

Hey you! Yes, you! Remember when everyone moaned about the state of UK punk a few years back (/ all the time, ever)? And how many flocked to Florida once a year because that was the only way to get your real punk rock fix?

Well, the UK has been throwing out bands that draw attention worldwide (thanks, internet) at a steady pace in the last few years as well, and many of the Fest bands make it over here regularly too. It’s happy days for the UK punks – apart from venue closures, metal being cool and expensive cider – and Bristol’s Caves have been doing a fine job of putting themselves out there in the wake of that (they even played Fest, the rock stars). Their new album ‘Betterment’ has been one to look forward to since it was announced and it also feels like the right time for the band to reach a wider range of years, so it’s fortunate that it happens to be an excellent listen.

The name of the game here is scrappy, shouty punk rock, and for this reason we’re gonna go ahead and embrace the rough around the edges production and imperfections on the record that make it what it is. That’s not even to say the band are sloppy or the production sucks, it’s more that it’s raw and unfiltered, bringing out all the best part of Caves’ sound. Tracks like ‘<3 Koala', 'Work' and 'Tears' show the band off to be smart, versatile and interesting, and the record as a whole whips by in no time at all and demands an immediate repeat. Whether 'Betterment' is a record that will allows Caves to follow in the footsteps of some of their UK brothers onto larger stages and tours remains to be seen, but it's great and that's the important thing right now. An essential UK punk rock listen, and one you'd be silly to miss out on. TOM AYLOTT

Three more album reviews for you

LIVE: Bring Me The Horizon / Fever 333 @ Alexandra Palace, London

All Ears Avow - 'Skin & Bones'

LIVE: Deaf Havana / iDKHOW @ O2 Academy Brixton