Single Review: Cave Birds – Some Lightning Thrill

By on Friday, 9th December 2011 at 12:00 pm

Words by Ben Parkinson

‘Some Lightning Thrill’ is the haunting debut by the Leeds-based, indie four-piece Cave Birds, as they dip a tentative toe in to the clouded water of stardom. As with some of the erstwhile greats (Joy Division and the Smiths are first names out of the hat) they have a provincial feel, having honed their sound in bedrooms and basements of the North. Released digitally on the 28th of November with Tri-Tone Records, the powerful and insidious vocally led ‘Some Lightning Thrill’ has enjoyed almost universal success among critics as indie moves on from the congested days of the guitar-orientated four-piece.

Where better to start than the intro? Some may recognize a hint of Roxy Music or Gary Numan (occasionally veering over the border into Peep Show’s Hair Blair Bunch) with the minimal, midi-track drum beat (almost tribal in rhythm), stabbing guitar riffs and the dual synthesized layers of reverberating birdcall and haunting moans conjuring a full forest soundscape. By the chorus, additional guitar tracks and vocals build to a tempestuous crescendo, the words “you shot the love out of me the minute I looked in your eyes / but somewhere deep in your soul I’ve got to hold on tight” wallow in loneliness illuminated by love games.


There’s a relieving originality to ‘Some Lightning Thrill’, comparable only to more obscure predecessors such as Talking Heads’ South African sojourn ‘Remain in Light’. But, (here’s the clincher) is it memorable enough among the current sea of synth-driven noir-pop? Perhaps not. My biggest gripe is that vocalist, the mysteriously mononymous Tom, seems to have taken full control, detracting from the free-style excitement that could have been with the guitar and bass clearly an afterthought. At times, it sounds as though someone has been collecting and splitting metaphors, subsequently forcing them to smash together, like some mental Large Hadron Collider, to create the elemental environment for a stand-out tune. ‘A’ for effort, it could be one of those slow burners.


‘Some Lightning Thrill’, the single debut from Cave Birds, is out now on Tri-Tone.

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