Bristolian quartet Swallow Cave return today with the atmospheric single “Cold Moon”, produced by Ali Chant (who in the past has worked with PJ Harvey, Soccer Mommy, Katy J Pearson).
The band, who have built a strong name for themselves on Bristol’s live scene with support slots for acts including Sasami, Porridge Radio and Lazarus Kane, have a knack for distilling weighty concepts into plaintive, melodic music. Their previous single, “Nostalgia”, was inspired by the 2011 human rights abuses documentary Nostalgia for the Light, while today’s track “Cold Moon”, according to lead singer Polly, is “about feeling really low and going to the darkest places in your mind, which for me is often late at night, and then the next morning feeling everything with kind of heightened senses and disbelief that my mind could have gotten that low the night before, but then inevitably goes back to again.”
There’s definitely a hazy, beach-at-dawn feel to the song, with its sleepy, strummy verses, vintage organ, and simple percussion reminiscent of the Marine Girls. As “Cold Moon” progresses, with harmonies wrapping around the main vocal line, the rhythm changes and it takes on a gorgeous, widescreen Laura Veirs vibe with the addition of a high, melodic guitar part and wistful, reverb-heavy production reminiscent of Veirs’ geology-themed records of the 2000s.
There is a beautiful simplicity to the arrangement that keeps the song fresh through the course of its nearly five minutes, and the moment where the cymbals crash and the guitar gathers pace beautifully evokes crashing waves in the morning light. It’s as silvery and gently melancholic as the “cold moon creeping down the hallway” it describes.