After making a name for himself with a series of stripped back YouTube covers of big pop hits, Cavetown turned his hand to telling stories of his own. 2018’s ‘Lemon Boy’ was fantastical, folksy and dreamy while his 2020 major label debut ‘Sleepyhead’ saw Robbie Skinner’s bedroom-pop project branch out, trading in twee, delicate musings for robust indie rock anthems with plenty of heart. It’s a potent combination that’s earned him a monthly audience of nearly eight million on Spotify.
New album ‘Worm Food’ sees Skinner continue to tell relatable tales about himself as he explores self-care, heartbreak, joy and community with a daring honesty. “Sometimes I wish I didn’t matter to anybody, sometimes I forget I do,” sings Skinner on the melancholic title track, uncomfortable with the weight of responsibility that comes with being a musician in 2022. “Joke’s on you, I don’t belong anywhere,” he continues over flickering synths.
Elsewhere the raw ‘Kill U’ finds Skinner “wanting to drown in that bed I grew up in” before the rumbling track explodes in a triumphant purge of catharsis. From here on out, Skinner injects a hard-fought optimism into ‘Worm Food’.
Sure, he asks “I’ve gotten nearly everything I ever hoped I’d have, so why am I still sad,” on the twitching ‘Better’ but also sings “I’m glad I’m alive”. Likewise, the pop-punk leaning ‘1994’ is a joyful track about fighting for self-love and self-acceptance. Then there’s the jangly, guitar-driven ‘Frog’, which finds Skinner head over heels in love.
A healthy dose of angst boils over on ‘A Kind Thing To Do’, which sees Skinner team up with Pierce The Veil frontman Vic Fuentes for a flamboyant, electro-punk banger that has big Myspace energy while a grinning, intergalactic team up with long-term collaborator Chloe Moriondo on ‘Grey Space’ is pure, giddy escapism.
The celebrations continue on ‘Fall In Love With A Girl’. An encouraging anthem of self-acceptance and sexuality that’s elevated by fellow bedroom pop star Beabadoobee, the track sees the pair sing “you finally find a place where you don’t have to pretend,” as they offer hope and community. It comes as Cavetown’s recently announced This Is Home Project has pledged to donate $1million (£880,000) to LGTBQ+ causes over the next three years.
Robbie Skinner is still uneasy with the idea of being a role model but he uses his music to vocalise his struggles and carves a safe space of acceptance within the polished, pretty songs. This latest album is his most fully-realised yet. There may be no answers to be found on ‘Worm Food’ but who needs them, when there’s so much raw honesty, understanding and self-empowerment.
- Release date: November 4, 2022
- Record label: Sire Records