Debut EPs can be like speculative movie trailers. They suggest what could be, but aren’t necessarily representative of the final product. They’re also snap impressions, asking the audience to make a decision based off of only a few minutes of material.
At four songs clocking in at just over 10 minutes, the self-titled debut EP from Fort Collins’ Slow Caves is as “snap” as it gets. There’s precious few seconds for intros, interludes and outros here. You could argue it’s a smash-and-grab job: their debut single “Saturns” caught many an ear, and this release hits digital shores at just the right time to capitalize on the band’s rising tide.
Their website describes the album as a “the soundtrack to the greatest movie you’ve never seen.” It’s fast apparent that this is less a mission statement than it is an attempt to add continuity to an EP made from four disjunct songs. It’s also, by it’s own admission, not true: “RYGOS (Drive)” is somewhere between a nod and parody of the soundtrack to “Drive,” (“Are you going to the city / who is it you’re there to see? / If you’re there just to drive fast cars…”) that like “Saturns,” is hit with a liberal splash of The Strokes.
Slow Caves’ adoration for Casablancas and Co might be the most cogent through-line on the EP, but “the greatest Strokes EP you’ve never heard” doesn’t have the same edge, and again, wouldn’t be true. It may put its best foot forward first with “Saturns,” which convincingly sounds like a “Is This It” era B-side. But its followed immediately after by “Dandelion Girl,” a thrash-by-the-numbers “hard rock” song of little interest. If an indie flick can’t scrap together enough money to license a Motörhead song, “Dandelion Girl” would make for a cheap alternative. Considering how short the EP is, it’s a concerning inclusion.
Each of these tracks suggest different identities for Slow Caves — jumping off points into metal, synth rock, and yeah, Strokes cover-band land. Fortunately, “Slow Caves” finishes with a light at its tunnel’s end in “One.” It’s gloomier than the rest of the EP, and might not be the headspace Slow Caves wants to make their name off of. But it’s a slick little bummer, and doesn’t feel plucked as obviously from the band’s influences as the others.
It’s early days for Slow Caves, a band who are clearly still finding themselves. Depending on what they cut and what they leave in, their hypothetical full-length has promise. But even with a barely ten-minute length, “Slow Caves” suggests the band has a lot of editing to do if their movie is something you’d want to see.
Dylan Owens is Reverb’s all-purpose news blogger and album reviewer. You can read more from him in Relix magazine and the comment sections of WORLDSTARHIPHOP.