Nocturnal activity has always played a pivotal role in Wesley Eisold’s art. Growing up without his feet in the same soil for more than a year, restlessness and change are integral parts of his creative process. It only makes sense that Cherish The Light Years is a product not only of the nonstop electricity of a new city but also the perfect soundtrack to nights spent exploring any foreign place.
Cherish The Light Years is a remarkable progression - melodically, sonically, emotionally - both from Cold Cave's acclaimed debut Love Comes Close and the discordant, industrial skeletons on the Cremations compilation. "Cremations is only two years old but it's so drastically different," Eisold says. "Cherish The Light Years is what I then envisioned happening in the future, but I was just starting to make my own songs, and it escalated to this. Through experimentation I stumbled on more song-oriented music."
Eisold's lyrics, largely inspired by nighttime walks after moving to New York City, are an extension of his work running the Heartworm publishing imprint. "That is a really important part of Cold Cave too. Lyrically, I want to convey what a lot of my favorite writers give me to other people. I want there to be this air of romance that has a seedy underbelly, like Jean Genet."
Not unlike Genet, Lou Reed, Baudelaire or Arthur Russell, Eisold uses the temptations of the City to examine the duality of human nature: "It's impossible not to notice, or be intrigued by, or partake in these things. I think the whole record is a reflection of that, but also questioning your reaction to it, asking how much will you partake?"
Cherish The Light Years is the summing up of Eisold’s musical journey to date. "I wanted the record to pertain to every musical moment of my life, from being a kid who's into The Cure or New Order or some of the early Siouxsie records to some of the last few bands I've been in too." (Prior to Cold Cave, Eisold was in hardcore groups Some Girls and American Nightmare). He adds that British albums like Suede's Dog Man Star and Pulp's Different Class had an impact, especially in their murky yet romantic sensuality: "I don't know why I have such an affinity for that realm, it's just there. It’s a feeling that can't be accurately explained. But it was important to me that this record was going to be as American-sounding as those records were British-sounding."
A striking attribute of Cherish The Light Years is Eisold's newfound vocal strength. Citing Scott Walker’s work on the Walker Brothers’ 1978 Nite Flights LP as a key influence (an album in which Walker’s dramatic synth-based songs essentially mapped out the future of anthemic electronic pop), he explains: "Playing live so much the last couple years, I became more comfortable singing, and I wanted to make the vocals on this album much bolder." It's this that gives Cherish The Light Years its brave, dark scope. Take “Underworld USA”, “Confetti” or “The Great Pan Is Dead”, where apocalyptic lyricism contrasts with a relentless electronic backing.
Eisold has always loved contrast. It's what drew him to New York, the beauty on one side of the street and the decay on the other. "I've always loved upbeat dance songs with those kind of downer lyrics - this is the Cold Cave version of that." The passionate first single “Villains Of The Moon” exemplifies this dark stadium pop, with no gaseous clouds of pomposity obscuring the song at the core, while “Burning Sage” uses S&M cracking beats behind the synth grandiosity of mid-period Depeche Mode.
Cherish The Light Years is an ode to his adopted city, New York, and the record Eisold always wanted to make. “It’s about bringing this world of feelings in my head into the actual world, and having it exist there.”