Antenna (Cave In album)
|Studio album by Cave In|
|Released||March 18, 2003|
Hydra Head Records (Vinyl)
|Cave In chronology|
|Alternative Press||April 2003, (p.82)|
|Q Magazine||April 2003, (p.102)|
Antenna is the third studio album and first major label album by American rock band Cave In. Released in 2003, it was Cave In's first and only album for RCA before being dropped and re-signing with Hydra Head. Antenna marked a more commercial shift in Cave In's style which, while critically praised, was met with uneasiness from the band and distaste from longtime fans. In the midst of such polarization, the band would begin a return to their previous style resulting in 2005's Perfect Pitch Black.
Background and recording
Hot off the success of their 2000 album, Cave In became sought by numerous major labels. Hoping to exceed the limitations of a small label, they eventually settled with RCA for its thorough marketing and promotion plans. The band would, however, maintain a business relationship with Hydra Head, who would release their major label debut on vinyl.
In contrast to Cave In's previous effort, Antenna would emphasize spacey, progressive rock tendencies with soaring anthems and clean, melodic vocals. Guitarist Adam McGrath noted the musical shift as due to both physical and creative limitations; physically, singer Steve Brodsky had alleged concerns over the long-term effects of performing harsh metal vocals. Creatively, Cave In had also grown tired of being pigeonholed within the metalcore genre and being force to consistently perform amongst such acts. On a much greater budget, Antenna was also given three months of fundamental recording time in contrast to the four days for Jupiter and took a total of six months.
Weeks after the album's release, McGrath described the recording process:
- "Bruce Floor had opinions during the recording process, but he let us make our own decisions. He put us in a position to make our own decisions and he supported us when we made them. It is a different, exciting time in our lives right now."
However, months later, he noted that in comparison to small labels, "RCA tried harder to get things done, but more people wanted to put their fingerprints on our record." McGrath elaborated that the label pressured the band to create radio-friendly singles and that the band overtook their lives. "All these new people came into the picture. We had a business manager, lawyer, A&R guy, marketing guy, people that are your quote/unquote friends. We were young and naive to the whole process and it affected how we wrote songs."
Touring and promotion
Cave In was chosen for the second stage on the 2003 Lollapalooza tour. Afterward, the band toured Europe in support of Foo Fighters and Muse. The shows brought a unique response from fans in regards to Cave In's new sound.
In summer 2003, guitarist Adam McGrath lamented, "We got major backlash for growing out of our metal phase. . . People were calling us faggots; they were using derogatory terms on us. I didn't want them around us, let alone liking our band. Fuck them. I'm glad we could weed them out." He later reflected, "It got to the point where they were throwing shit at us when we were playing. They were pissed. Some people said 'fuck this,' but others tried to figure out what were doing and grabbed it." The backlash apparently had an effect on Cave In who began revisiting their metal roots during concerts later in the year. They began a US tour alongside the decidedly heavy From Autumn to Ashes, Every Time I Die, and Funeral for a Friend in September.
During this time, RCA had merged with BMG and Sony and Cave In's status with RCA was put into question. The band was scheduled for a meet and greet where no one showed up. By the following year, after a dispute over musical direction, Cave In would be released from the label.
The track "Anchor" was released as the album's single which also had a music video. McGrath described it as a very poor choice for a single but suitable simply because of its short length. Due to the song's lackluster reception in radio and TV, the label allegedly gave up on Antenna. "Looking back, the people at RCA were really into it. Two years after the fact, it was a mistake," noted McGrath.
The video for "Anchor" starred actor Richard Edson as a disgruntled man staggering through a city with his feet imprisoned in concrete blocks. It gained considerable airplay on Fuse TV during the spring and summer of 2003.
During the later touring schedule for Antenna, Cave In acknowledged the poor reception from longtime fans and began a return to their previous, heavier sound. The group started recording new material in the vein of their earlier style with no label interference, but the less commercial material gained a negative response from RCA. The label eventually agreed to release Cave In in 2004 and allow them full ownership to their new demos. This would lead to Cave In's full resigning with Hydra Head and the release of Perfect Pitch Black in 2005.
Since their departure from RCA, members of Cave In have reflected largely negatively on their sole experience with a major label. In addition to its massive budget, the band felt pressured into a more commercialized style and intense schedule that they have since criticized. Lyrically, several songs on the band's follow-up album would vent their frustrations with RCA, including a song entitled "Trepanning."
In a 2009 interview in which he assessed the band's discography up to that point, Stephen Brodsky said the album was "the big, slick rock record we spent way too much time and money making. That’s basically what happens when too many people get involved in your business. Still, I can stand behind songs like “Seafrost” and “Youth Overrided.”"
- "Stained Silver" – 4:08
- "Inspire" – 4:20
- "Joy Opposites" – 4:48
- "Anchor" – 3:14
- "Beautiful Son" – 3:57
- "Seafrost" – 8:58
- "Rubber and Glue" – 3:44
- "Youth Overrided" – 5:17
- "Breath of Water" – 5:36
- "Lost in the Air" – 3:41
- "Penny Racer" – 3:11
- "Woodwork" – 5:17
- "Lift Off"
- "Day Trader"
- "Devil's Head Pinata"
- "Harmless, Armless," also known as "Minus World"
|UK Album Chart||67|
|US Billboard 200||169|
|2003||UK Singles Chart||"Anchor"||53|
|2003||US Mainstream Rock||"Anchor"||37|
|2003||US Modern Rock||"Anchor"||34|
- Band members
- Stephen Brodsky – guitar and vocals
- J.R. Conners – drums and Vocals
- Adam McGrath – guitar and vocals
- Caleb Scofield – bass and vocals
- Other personnel
- Rich Costey – producer, engineer and mixing
- Wally Gagle – engineer
- Michael Lavine – photography
- Dan Leffler – second engineer
- Bob Ludwig – mastering
- Gersh – drum technician
- Loftus, Johnny. "Antenna – Cave In". Allmusic. Retrieved April 14, 2011.
- Leone, Dominique. "Antenna – Cave In". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
- McMahan, Tim Cave In: Hot or Not? The Omaha Weekly-Reader (September 16, 2003). Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Steininger, Alex Interview: Cave-In In Music We Trust, Issue Sixty (May/June 2003). Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Interview: Cave In Signal Magazine (January 28, 2008). Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Brodsky, Stephen (November 19, 2009). "DISCO: Stephen Brodsky Contemplates the Entire Cave In Catalog". Self-Titled Daily. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
- Perfect Pitch Black (CD booklet). Cave In. New Mexico: Hydra Head Records. 2005. HH666–103.
- "Chart Log UK: Top 200s 1994—2005". zobbel.de. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
- "Billboard 200: Cave In – Albums". Billboard. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
- "Billboard: Cave In – Singles". Billboard. Retrieved June 21, 2008.