Album Review: Cane Hill - 'Kill The Sun'
Writhing with a mellow darkness, the newest record from Cane Hill is a welcome departure from their usual heavier sound.
New Orleans quartet Cane Hill have stripped their sound back for six uncompromisingly dark tracks that explore human emotions in their rawest form. Leaving their signature heavy sound for semi-acoustic arrangements, the band demonstrates an aptitude for writing beyond their usual style, while maintaining the same enthralling element that makes them so addictive. The band explains, “We wanted to embrace some leftover emotions we’ve been dealing with since getting our shit together while exploring our own musical limitations. We made this semi-acoustic record because we needed to for ourselves — and because honestly, why the fuck not?”.
Cane Hill’s new flair for the more emotional approach is evident from the start. Opening track “86d - No Escort” eases the band’s listener into an unfamiliar sonic world awash with dark, gloomy electronics, embracing an ominous start before an acoustic guitar joins the textures and a haunting reverberating guitar melody screams out with an echoing cry. Intricately layered and patterned, the accompaniment is constantly shifting as different aural textures creep in. “Empty” takes a different path, and its airiness stands in contrast to the previous track. The delicate nature of the track is maintained by Elijah Witt’s soft falsetto in the chorus, which floats above the instrumentation without effort. Filled with exquisite melodies and groovy hooks, the combination of the two makes for something that will touch your heart while instilling an urge to tap your feet along.
“Save Me” hits with all the emotional force of what we expect from the band, but with less sonic brutality. A melancholic piano motif opens the track, and as the line “don’t try to save me, wait for me to save myself” gets repeated in the chorus, the refrain grows more fervent and desperate with each repeat as tension builds. Titular track “Kill The Sun” takes a look into self-destructive tendencies, and offers a deeply personal perspective with its somber lyrics, while “Acid Rain” returns to the encompassing electronics introduced in “86d - No Escort”. Final track “Smoking Man” resembles most closely the Cane Hill we’re used to hearing, with its plunging riffs and crashing cymbals, yet it’s still a world away from their previous material. With this EP, Cane Hill build upon a completely different territory yet master it completely at their fingertips. Whether this is a hint of the direction the band plans to take in the future, or is just a slight diversion for a chance to experiment and have fun, we’re here for it.
Words by Athena Kam