Cavernzz’ debut LP ‘Nothing Left’: Astute, honest, graceful

By February 19, 2018

Music. Milton Keynes.

Cover: Esmée Balcewicz

By Ellen Bassam

Muted experience, early-hour anxiety and visions of hope pervade Cavernzz’ debut LP Nothing Left. The self-proclaimed ‘dream pup’ weaves a series of poignant and lonely vocal parts into woozy pop songs that exemplify the interconnected new-age where one is never alone, but often lonely. 

The Milton Keynes-based artist has been quietly releasing bedroom pop with Warm Laundry Records at some rate over the last few years, occasionally gifting his small but devoted fanbase with intimate shows across the country, with recent dates including Manchester, London and The Three Wheel Drive Festival.

His first single ‘America’, self-released back in November, materialises from a flutter of indistinct crackles, falling into a rhythmic croon as its sparse guitar riff loops round and round Luke Bolitho’s deep vocals. ‘Another Way’ is uttered in a soft hum reminiscent of Jamie Lee, with deep chords supporting Cavernzz’ aspirated utterances, while the steady rhythm of ‘Blue Drool’, with its tree frog percussion and stolid bass, is a graceful berceuse, a homage to an unexpected moment of affection.

While one would be forgiven for thinking ‘Nothing Left’ was a series of sadness, with titles like ‘Soft Fear’, ‘Lost Again’ and ‘Some way 2 feel ok’ playing into this, Cavernzz betrays his seriousness with amusing amuse-gueules that dispel savoury feelings of angst: ‘Teacher, put an end to your experiment / I’ve got a pet and you’re scaring her’. In a short conversation with Bolitho, he told TSOTA that he often aimed to capture emptiness or lack of responsibility in a ‘fun’ or sardonic way, perhaps to avoid dealing with certain things: “12am cravings feel good for a while, but then you realise deep down that it’s not a good indicator to how you’re feeling”.

Bolitho’s voice sounds almost prematurely old throughout, and while he’s a man of few words, it seems he has an endless amount to say. Having methodically worked himself into a gifted singer, guitarist and songwriter, evidenced by his prolific song writing and lyrics that are both astute and deeply introspective, Cavernzz is the sort of artist we don’t realise we’re so lucky to have until it’s too late — until he’s gone, or he’s lost hope, or he’s had to give music up for a day job because he didn’t get the appreciation he deserved when he needed it. Let’s not let yet another would-be head down that well-trodden path.

‘Nothing Left’ will be released on Spotify and Bandcamp on the 5th of March.

Upcoming shows in February:

21st – Cambridge

24th – Bristol

28th – London