When Ryan Rulon introduced Memory Cave as a collaborative, so-called “dream funk” project last April with the meditative “Sioux Falls,” it appeared the single would serve as the opening salvo to a year’s worth of significant activity. A debut EP was said to be in the works, and while Rulon had written and recorded much of the instrumentation for the first track, he had also managed to recruit Grammy-winning producer Jason Kingsland, as well as Zach Pyles of Culture Culture, to help flesh out the songwriting and form the core nucleus of the group. Over the course of the next few months, Rulon and his cohorts pieced together a live lineup and hit the road in the summer for a handful of Southeastern shows. Everything seemed to be moving forward swimmingly.
Then, the election happened.
“Regardless of the emotional place the music is coming from, there’s a certain amount of joy that I need to be able to access in order to do it,” says Rulon regarding the hiatus that followed. “And for a while, after the election, I just couldn’t find it.” Eventually, however, the songwriter snapped out of his existential funk, as he began to recall how central music is to his sense of being, and how integral it is to cultivating hope.
You can hear that mix of aspiration and optimism percolating beneath the surface of the group’s second single “Demolition Day,” which we’re excited to premiere today. The track finds the group once again bridging the gap between celestial dream pop and funky electronic grooves that lurk somewhere between the buoyancy of ’80s yacht rock and the faded nostalgia of chillwave. The production from Kingsland and Pyles is meticulous, but never to the extent that it drags or gets lost in its own sumptuous details. Indeed, everything here — from the burbling bass and zero-gravity synths to the breezy guitars and Rulon’s laconic vocals — seems designed to billow and thump as pleasantly as possible without ever crowding the song’s central pulse.
But if that was all there was to it — just another heavy dose of pastel-coated synth-funk and stylish Reagan-era soundscapes — we likely wouldn’t be here. After all, how much room can there be left for yet more ’80s throwback electro-pop, no matter how polished and well executed? What makes “Demolition Day” click is it’s relevancy to the moment, the manner in which Rulon uses the track’s lush backdrops to examine our polarizing political climate and the hope, as he puts of, “of a mass awakening of consciousness always being perhaps just over some intellectual horizon.” It’s a unique dichotomy — the sensual rubbing up against the analytical — but Memory Cave make it work, and they sound damn good while doing it.
“Demolition Day” will be released as a cassette single alongside “Sioux Falls” via local boutique cassette label The House is on Fire on May 25.