Listening to Robin Skinner, more popularly known by the likes of Cavetown, transports me back to a very particular time in my life, a time defined by the likes of Bright Eyes, The Antlers, and Death Cab for Cutie (I was just fine as a teenager; I promise). And while the sonics may differ, the sentiment remains the same. This is transcendent indie music, painting a deeply personal portrait of the trials and tribulations of loss, love, and the human experience.
“Devil Town,” a new and familiar track from the UK indie artist, sees him returning to a fan favorite. Originally released as the final track on the artist’s eponymous 2015 debut album, Cavetown reimagines the blistering indie rock number into a stripped-down acoustic number of folk-evoking rumination.
Centered around the divorce of Skinner’s parents, “Devil Town” has long existed as one of his back catalog’s most personal works. It is in this deeply intimate space where Cavetown’s songwriting shines. Juxtaposing elements of heartbreak and wit, Cavetown sings, “Mum and Daddy aren’t in love / That’s fine, I’ll settle for two birthdays.” As was the case some odd three years ago upon its initial release, “Devil Town” comes across as a beautifully-penned diary entry brought to life. Yet, “Devil Town,” and much of Cavetown’s songwriting is so much more than poignant songwriting.
The arresting, beautiful, and heartbreaking world of “Devil Town” feels less like an emotional purge and more like the work of a songwriter transforming a lived experience into a comforting space for his listeners and fans. Skinner says so himself when speaking on his songwriting, sharing, “I speak about very genuine things and very personal things that I find hard to say. That’s why I write a song about it. I think people relate to that: Sometimes they can’t put things into words, but when they hear a song about it, they can point to that.”
Listen to “Devil Town” below and catch Cavetown on tour: