Cave In Cave In

Only indie darlings Cave In could release a CD single with only two songs and be taken seriously. As 2000's phenomenal Jupiter belied their early hardcore roots, now this self-titled EP metamorphoses the prog/space jams of Jupiter into more substantial mainstream rock, yet with a stealth-like supremacy all their own. "Lost In The Air" sees front-man Stephen Brodsky tempering his youthful pipes to a smoother tenor, and without his scream-y histrionics of yore, his high harmonies reveal a more comfortable embrace of this musical style. The pristine "Lift Off" again mixes guitarist Adam McGrath's backdrops of rapidly picked chords, Elliott-like progressions and more of Brodsky's semi-gravely howls in the upper registers. Keenly produced so that Caleb Scofield's Beatle-esque bass is up front in the mix where it should be, both tracks are tremendous advances on their already exceptional sound, even if it's no indication of the route their future material will take. Not only is this EP the first great release of 2002, but it rightfully raises the ante - and expectations - for their upcoming major label debut. (Hydra Head)