Cafeine is a solo project from multi-instrumentalist Xavier Cafeine who originally hails from Quebec, Canada. New Love is his third studio album – an eleven track LP which was released in America on February 17th and the first, since his relocation to the USA .
After seeing press photos of an aloof Monsieur Cafeine and briefly researching his influences, I expected New Love to represent something of a post-modern love letter to the heyday of punk music, particularly the American take on the genre. And after listening, I believe this presumption couldn’t have been further from the truth; with inspiration reportedly ranging from the first-wave of American punk with bands such as X and The Flesh Eaters to more eclectic offerings such as The Gun Club and The Blasters, I expected cutting, nihilistic content full of bile and resentment. What lay beneath the surface was far from my expectations.
The titular début track, New Love, is an electrified slice of feel-good pop. Crisp and radio-friendly, it is the antithesis of what I had come to expect, but not a bad song by any means.
The following track, Electric, is a little more rock-oriented, with jangly guitar riffs and vocals which wouldn’t sound out of place in British indie groups. The track moves along at a good pace, thanks to the synergy between drums and guitars, and is my personal favourite on the LP.
Towards the end of the album appears No Love, a foot-stomper of a track with some nice riffs that chime nicely with the vocals, featuring subtle echoes which bounce around in the background. With a chunky lead synth and a pleasing piano section appearing out of the blue, this is a strong contender for the most varied song on the album.
An increasing sense of déjà vu washed over me as New Love progressed, and I realised that at its heart, this highly polished album lacks any palpable depth. This album is well-produced and easily-accessible, but lacks the creativity and complexity which necessitate further listening on my part. There is a lot of style and sophistication on offer, and if you’re looking for an enjoyable ride to take you into the Summer months, look no further.