Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Fleece & Firkin, Bristol

You hate to resort to the same lazy comparisons, to stoop so low enough as to pull those familiar names back out of the bag when faced with a band so desperately in need of their own identity, but sometimes you’re left with little choice. On record, there’s nothing essentially wrong with Cay that couldn’t be fixed by a touch more imagination in the song-writing department, maybe employing an occasional hint of subtlety instead of leaping for the volume control every time they reach a chorus, or even a slight digression from their already formulaic structure. Regrettably a live setting only serves to further highlight the flaws, to emphasis their reliance on repetition of a theme run into the ground so many times by so many bands before them.

While the buzz saw joyride of 'Better Than Myself' still captures the essence of 'Dirty' era Sonic Youth – with Anet screaming away like someone who has just been forced to watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire simultaneously – they only really have two other songs; those that want to be 'Better Than Myself', but aren’t quite so good; and those that want to be 'Better Than Myself', but aren’t as fast or as good.

It’s during these slower moments that that dreaded references most obviously rear their heads; the way the guitars get all broody and Anet stops screaming long enough to have a cigarette between verses; where those years spent listening to too many Hole and Babes In Toyland albums begin leave their indiscreet stamp over proceedings. While the more discerning among us cringe as memories of too many Friday nights at bad provincial indie discos resurface, the kids down the front use the respite as an opportunity to sip at the remnants of their spilt and illicit pints, before once more hurling themselves at each other like crazed dogs as Cay drop yet another mosh-friendly barrage from their big bag of songs.

Part of the problem is that Cay seem fated to attract this kind of audience. You just can’t escape the feeling that if you were still fifteen you would have been impressed by the sheer volume and aggression with which they play; that you would have jumped about and shouted along with the chorus before going home hoping that your parents wouldn’t realise that you had been drinking again.

As it is, Cay have been playing the same venues each time they’ve toured for the last year and a half, and you know as well as they do that they’ll be back here again in six months time. You can only hope, for their sake as much as your own, that somewhere along the line they’ll find that extra little something that will allow them to progress part this point, but until then it’ll be Groundhog Day again and again and we’ll just have to hope that they’re content playing to the little kids in the Slipknot t-shirts for the foreseeable future.