In New Zealand you don’t give yourself a band name like The Cavemen lightly. You’re setting out your stall for all to see. In polite company, any mention of these infamous Auckland punks register merely cold stares and hushed voices. The group themselves even claim to be a ‘great band to clear a party’.
Now they’ve come over to London with the aim of simply going hell for leather, not caring what people think, and spoiling for a fight. Well, not really, of course. Not totally. But they are young guys who are most definitely focused on having fun.
The Cavemen formed as high school teens over a shared love of wild rock’n’roll and delinquency. After spending several years loitering around the various basements, graveyards and parking lots of their home city, they had honed their rock’n’roll chops well enough to emerge from their troglodytic existence in around 2012 to deliver NZ back to the stone-age.
The Cavemen make no accommodation for anyone’s sensitivity. Musically and lyrically, it’s rip- and-bust, down-and-dirty all the way home. The Cavemen is guaranteed neighbour-upsetting fun. It’s rude and crude, with vocalist Paul Caveman spitting tacks while Jack Caveman fires off primitive riffs, and bassist Nick Caveman and drummer Jake Caveman pile on the rough-hewn sonics. On the decision to move, the band’s singer explains: “No bar will have us, no station will play us… We might as well swim to the other side of the world.”
The Cavemen isn’t sophisticated or remotely complex. But it is one of those wonderful loose-nut records that reminds you that life is short. And when life is not being nasty it’s simply dull as ditch water. So you might as well crank that volume knob to 11 on some prurient punk rock and get busy making your own fun before you die in some tediously mundane fashion.
Their self-titled debut (on killer NZ label, 1:12 Records and available in toxic green and crystal clear vinyl and now released to the wider world by Dirty Water Records) features plenty of greasy riffs, uncouth howling, and road-rash-raw garage punk. Think a dose of Dead Moon, with a little of the Cramps and The Stooges, and then throw on a whole heap of vintage trash punk debauchery. That’s essentially The Cavemen. It’s pure rock’n’roll, lo-fi and punk rock!
Straight-up and straight-down-the-line song titles will give you a pretty good sense of the stonkin’ three-chord delinquent punk on offer before you’ve even heard a note.
This is ’77 punk the way it’s supposed to be – no new wave or pop influences here – just prime rock’n’roll with all the right influences from rock’n’roll’s past. The Cavemen channel everything from the Ramones to Elvis onstage. So catch ’em before evolution does.