The Cavesluts

Cynthia's Libido

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This is the first time I have ever heard a Chinese band, let alone one that sings in English -- let alone one that "blends ancient Oriental philosophy with modern Occidental rock" in "post-modern Taoism" fashion. Talk about your total break from the same old same old! But aside from the serious and intriguing, totally fresh novelty of unusual circumstance and rare ambition (what, in the People's Republic of China, they think rock is a great art calling and intellectual pursuit? Please, no one tell them the truth about what we did to it, in the land where it was invented!), the Cavesluts are just plain good. Led by the gruff-voiced full-singing of Hu Xiao, who sounds a bit like Ian James (Flower, French), this spirited and talented quintet uses unconventional but powerful, jagged rock rhythms to support ever-changing tapestries of moods, light and dark, harsh and beguiling. The unpredictable, effects-laden guitar sounds make use of involving production, spine-tingling instrumental breaks, feedback, and first-rate ensemble playing to uncage their inner beasts, as honed in clubs in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Beijing. The urgency and edge is as unmistakable as their craft. And it's not just a distant sound: Lately the group has relocated to our shores (Virginia), and have been playing East Coast dates and getting U.S. college radio play. It's not hard to see why.