Cavetown wants you to relax with a “little vice” (REVIEW)

Oxford’s Cavetown returns with new EP little vice and a somewhat new sound in latest single “alone” that’s as comforting as it is familiar. 

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Cavetown is the brainchild of Robin Daniel Skinner, a lover of music since childhood and the son of famed choir director & musicologist David Skinner. Growing up in a musically intellectual household provided Skinner with a foundation of understanding sounds at their core, which he later built upon, establishing a consistent talent for capturing emotion in the most minimal moments. 

Skinner is often synonymous with the modern millennial classification of “sad boy music” or with placements on a reliable old “songs I can cry to” playlist. But there’s an element within Vavwtowns music that often gets overlooked and it’s this passive ability to imbue tenderness through optimism. He’s released project after project consistently since 2018, with each collection staying true to “last names” dreary guitar-led instrumentals and melancholic melodies, all of which are present on little vice, but there’s something new present. 

Little vice is a quick dissertation of the same emotionally charged lyrics and subtle instrumentation, but this feels like Skinner experimenting with the formula; layering extra synthesizers on the backend and adding an unfamiliar vocal modifier. All of which is demonstrated front and center on the opening track “obvious”.

This experimentation with the melodies is ambitious, and works in Skinner’s favor in the long run, providing tunes that are thematically familiar yet enticingly strange. A track that embodies this as a stand out from the five provided is track three: “let them know they’re on your mind”. 

“Let them know they’re on your mind” is arguably one of the most sonically different songs out of Skinner’s entire catalog, riding a faster tempo, enthusiastic energy in the vocals, and quite an in-your-face guitar riff that carries the message with the production. This track out of the bunch represents Skinner’s experimentation with a smart line that nods to the EP title. “Light a cigarette, you’re allowed a little vice”. 

All in all, little vice is a refreshing twist to Cavetowns usual entre, providing a more ambitious take on the production and vocal performance while still serving lyrics meant best to be enjoyed in solitude in cold weather. 

Cavetown’s little vice is available now via Sire Records.

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