I is available at (this link does not include the track Knots):
(The Bandcamp (official release) link is available soon- giving you the option to pay what you want)
Knots (Intro.)- 9.6/10.0
Holy Books– 9.8
22nd September, 2014
One of the most immediate and impressive young bands (I have heard)- Calgaris are an act with a big future. Their E.P. I has been gaining some incredible early press. Make sure you investigate the wonders of this staggering Yorkshire quartet
THIS review will mark a bit of a milestone…
as it will be my final band review. I have already written the review for Jingo’s album The Art of Loving– it will be published on Sunday. The writing process- of both reviews- is like a late-career Beatles move- not that I am bigger than The Beatles! Jingo’s review was an exceptional treat but its 11,000 words seemed like a Let It Be process- trying my hardest to sum up their magnificent music- without repeating myself. Calgaris are the Abbey Road band- released first but a lot more care-free. As such, the word count and content is a bit reduced. My featured act is a new band out the blocks- they are putting their first moves together. Before I introduce them, I want to raise one point: northern bands. As Jingo are a London band- and my next review subject is an Indian solo act- I am back up north. I am sure I will some more reviews in; for now, it is great to hear a fine and noble northern act- a group that have some serious credentials. Having been contacted by band member Matt McGoldrick, I am lucky enough to have uncovered a fervent and ambitious young band- one that want to make a big name for themselves. I have a bit of an eidetic memory- when it comes to bands- and can always remember the sounds and sights- distinguish the good from the band. Over the last few months, I have assessed a lot of variation and difference. No two bands tend to sound the same; you get a slight difference with each- the Indie-Rock genre is one of the most hotly-contested and crowded. When an act comes along- that plays in this genre- that stands out from their contemporaries, it is always impressive to behold their music. This year is seeing a huge influx of young bands come through; new acts that want to make their stamp- it is hard to take it all in. I have witnessed a lot of new bands fail at the first hurdle- fall without an inkling for quality and originality. Most of the fantastic new bands are originating from London and the north- Yorkshire has proved particularly fertile. The huge festivals- and their stages for newcomers- are seeing a lot of the county’s bands gain exposure and rising acclaim- the likes of CryBabyCry have just played Leeds (an act I have reviewed recently). Although Calgaris are a sapling group- and have a lot more in them- they have a distinct and original sound (that stands them in good stead). It seems they will be making some waves in the future; climbing their way up the ladder- their debut E.P., I is an exciting and action-packed record. When thinking about new acts and artists, I am always looking at those initial movements; the first signs and sensations- they are the most vital. Plenty of eagerness and determination comes through in the music- (Matt) speaks fondly and passionately about music and the future- the band are intent on a long stay. This year has been a busy and creative one for the quartet; the next year will see them take their songs on the road and plan new movements- on the evidence of their debut E.P., the demand will rise and augment. Before I get down to another point, let me introduce you to the band:
Matt / Richard / Craig / Simone
“Previously known as ‘One Stop Railway’, Calgaris is a brand new identity, which was born at the start of 2014. A young band from Huddersfield and Bradford, Calgaris combine impassioned vocals with pounding beats, driving guitars and electronic touches.”
Sound combinations and blends are essential and much-needed- too many bands seem too linear and honed. If the best of the mainstream have proven anything, it is elementary to expand your palette- draw out some unexpected sounds (and stretch your ambitions). Calgaris are the embodiment of the new wave of thoughtful bands- those that are going beyond the norm. I still hear so many acts that have a very predictable and boring guitar sound; are not taking the trouble to offer the listener anything fresh and unexpected. I am not saying you need to unleash something so bizarre and scattershot- that it alienates and confuses- so much can be achieved just by tweaking strings; infusing electronic elements- taking the trouble to put some imagination into your songs. It is hard to strike a necessary balance: make sure your sounds are concentrated and focused- remaining fully diverse and itinerant. Calgaris’s forthcoming E.P. will show how it should be done- striking that necessary balance, and unveiling sounds that few other groups are playing. The band market is never going to stop drawing in and inspiring- the numbers will swell and grow as the years go on. I am in the process of putting together an act and making sure (my songs) are as original and stirring as they can be- not just your run-of-the-mill clichés. The only way to propel the creative process; solidify and grow my own music, is take inspiration from the best of the new breed- the likes of Calgaris are providing fuel and ammunition. Before I get down to investigating their music, I will finish on one point- the dedication of musicians. A lot of times- when contacting artists about music or receiving requests- there is not a lot of personability and communication. Too many acts and artists seem aloof and distance; I have to chase them up for information- their own self-interest and motives seem paramount. In the maelstrom of variable quality and mixed personalities, Calgaris are among the most passionate and dedicated out there- nothing means more than getting their music out; connecting with listeners and reviewers. Too few out there have this regard and consideration; happy to float songs in the ether and assume good words will come- it is very naive and foolhardy. Of course, the music needs to back up the friendliness and thoughtfulness- if the tunes are weak then the whole endeavour is flawed and lacking. Calgaris back their words with some seriously memorable and nuanced tracks; songs that are perfect for all weathers and occassions- they put you in mind of some classic acts (but have their own inimitable flavour). It is about time I get down to investigating the act of the hour.
If you are looking for comparable bands- acts that have inspired Calgaris- then there are a few that can be mentioned. The band is pretty distinct and incomparable, but some acts have had a bearing on their sound- the way they go about doing things. A group I have mentioned a few times recently- when assessing new acts- is Bloc Party. This is an collective that continue to influence and inspire upcoming acts; their bracing and compelling sound is hard to refute. Intimacy is an album- from Bloc Party- that can be heard on Calgaris’s debut cut. Critics responded well to Bloc Party’s 2008 album. Noting its sweatiness and circularity; savagery and submission- a boiling pot of lust and sexuality was unleashed. The album possessed vivid honesty and earnestness- that was missing from early cuts- and saw the band dispense with their overt and one-dimensional cool. Intimacy was a masterclass of rhythmic intensity and Rock hardness; it was brave, heartfelt and emotive. A Weekend in the City was a Bloc Party album that brought intimacy and nervous energy out. Rampant and jagged edges sat with emotive outpouring and reflection- some saw it is as quite an awkward and mixed album. Critics noted how the anger and confusion resulted in terrific music; how the paranoia and dirty dishevel arced to present unity and togetherness- the album revealed its charms as the songs progressed. Wrecked, nervous, wild and graceful- the album seemed to possess every emotion. The immediacy and impact (the songs had) was impossible to overlook- it was seen as a modern-day diamond. Genuine contentment came through among angry and rage-filled moments. Calgaris infuse the same mixtures and mood swings in their music. The quality is high and endless; they trade anger and sweat with some graceful beauty and delicate touches- the same qualities that defined Bloc Party’s best moments. The anthemic and cold-as-ice jams- that showed up on Silent Alarm– find their way onto I– the band manage to appropriate Bloc Party’s finest qualities; sprinkling it into their boiling and trippy cauldron. When listening to I‘s tracks, you get that same feeling of confidence and ambition- the fact they cram so much into their music- the sense of nuance defines their music. The 1975 are a band making some serious strides- inspiring a lot of new bands (and gaining critical acclaim). The Mancunian boys unveiled their debut a year ago- it was an album that solidified and underlined their intentions. Seen as one of the finest Indie L.P.s of 2013, it showcased great Pop moments with plenty of depth. The L.P. The 1975 shared a love of Michael Jackson’s ’80s work- as do Calgaris. The band infused Jacko-esque synths. and elements of his early-career work. This is a sound that is being seen on a lot of current Electro.-Pop albums. On their self-titled debut, the band managed to make 16 songs sound fresh and urgent- keeping your attention held. Being a writer (who intends on having 15 tracks on a debut album), I wonder whether critics respond to long and ambitious albums- or whether they write it off as over-ambitious and tedious. A great deal of Indie bands are formulaic and derivative; The 1975 crammed hooks and stunning melodies onto their L.P. Taking inspiration from the likes of The Thompson Twins and China Crisis, the boys genre-jilted (and sounded gloriously off-kilter). Hugely unique and distinct, The 1975 was an album that resonated with critics- topping their ‘end-of-year’ accolades lists. Whilst some reviewers were ambivalent and less laudable, the main focus lay with the compelling (tenor) vocals and swooning songs. Drawing in the likes of Temper Trap, INXS, Peter Gabriel and Passion Pit; the songs reflected sophistication and endless experimentation. Soulful Pop songs mutated into uniquely phrased jams and narrative moment. Genre-melting experiments sparred with anthemic stadium rock- each song sounded like a film cut; a classic soundtrack staple. Timeless and compelling, The 1975 created a gem. Calgaris take inspiration from the boys and infuse the same blends of sophistication, grace, power and unexpectdeness- they melt Pop melodies with driving anthems; stunningly detailed filmic scenes and raw passionate drives. It is likely the band will carve a 1975-esque album in the future. Whether it will have as many tracks- or will be shorter- is yet to be seen- they have the ammunition and potential. Feeder are the final act I will mention. If I had to draw in a couple of their albums- that could have influenced Calgaris- it would be Echo Park and Renegades. Two of the band’s best works, Echo Park saw fast Rock instrumentation sizzle and snap; sampled guitar riffs (and experimental sounds) fused together- delicate Britpop melodies mingled with Foo Fighters-esque pummel and anthems. Bridging U.K. and U.S. music, the delicate vocals made ballads easy on the ear; the harder numbers were infused with plenty of panache and stir. Snappy songs and bristling scenery backed very British messages- the super-confident and expansive lyrics saw the band at their most meaningful and direct. Renegades showed tightness and focus come into the music- few of the tracks exceeded the 3-minute mark. The invigorated surges and power chords made their songs stand to attention; the life and zest that mandates the sound- the album provide their best efforts since Echo Park. Although the band (Feeder) have come to the point of diminishing returns, you cannot ignore their legacy and influence- they have inspired a legion of current bands. Calgaris present elements of Feeder in their heyday- those incredible riffs and blends of British and American sounds. Bits of Foo Fighters-cum-Blur unite their Pop melodies with Hard-Rock anthems.
It is hard to compare I with any previous (band) work- this is their first foray into the music world. Having been performing live- before the E.P.’s inception- the guys have been growing in confidence and stature. Their first offerings signals an act with plenty to say- masses of emotion and potency goes into the E.P. It will be interesting to see if they modify their sound on future releases, or stick with their stunning formula- it is a rare sound that means their songs stand out. When investigating I, it hard to not be impressed by the confidence and intuition- it runs right the way across the E.P. They have elements of Feeder and The 1975, yet provide their own presentations and sense of directions. Incorporating the former’s flair and passion with the latter’s anthemics and calmer moments- the resultant blend is a scintillating and crackling dish. There is no weakness or fatigue across the E.P.; each song offers something new and fresh- moments go from bracing and invigorating to imploring and alluring. It is always pertinent to judge a band on the here and now- never look back and try to compare. One of the greatest critical follies is when a reviewer holds an album in high regard- uses it as a benchmark. Subsequently, if later albums do not hit that particular standard- they probably won’t- the efforts are adjudged a failure. This happens a lot with new music. Reviewers often compare bands (with others) too stringently- expect them to be as good and wonderful. If they create a cracking debut, they expect the next album to be even better- unrealistic expectations are put on the shoulders. As stunning as Calgaris are out of the blocks, they will be keeping their sounds and songs fresh and different- not trying to replicate the mandates and templates on I. It is amazing just how tight and assured they are early on- you can tell the songs have been perfected and honed. There is not too much fastidiousness and perfectionism- there is plenty of raw energy and improvisations. The songwriting and lyrics are consistently focused and impressive; plenty of stunning detail goes into them- the deadly strikes are severely impressive. No two of their songs sound alike; they take the trouble to create distinct and unique songs- this will open up future possibilities. Whether they choose to produce a new E.P. or album- or a string of singles- you can be sure that same unimpeachable quality control and sense of mesmerisation remains firm. The band are fans of a myriad of genres and bands; they are mad for music and present multifarious threads into their own sound- you can hear that passion and authority come through boldly.
Opening up I is an intriguing and fascinating scene entitled Knots. A brief and truncated introductory lead-in, the track is swooping and sweeping; it is moody and shimmering- tripped-out and weird slacker notes are a collage of cosmic considerations. Mingling shades of Sigur Rós, Joanna Newsom and Pink Floyd- with some of Muse’s intergalactic oddities- it grabs you. Wordless vocals intertwine and tangle- the knots are not restricted to compositional elements- projected ghostly and strained sounds haunt away. Delirious and spacey oeuvres float into the stratosphere; the guitar notes twist and contort with ecstasy and rapturous passion- against more jarring electronics- the resultant concoction is phenomenal. Quite a brave and unusual opener, the quartet circumvent your predictions and expectations. Most bands would launch straight in with a heavy number- get things ignited as quick as possible. Knowing how strong their material is, Calgaris offer something more detailed and unexpected- a snippet of sound that hints at possible potential. Following the fascinating, dreamy and strange introduction- you wonder what the first track (fully-fledged) will sound like. The cosmic and space-orbiting beauty of Knots leads to a glistening and stampeding Pop intro. The percussion gallops and crackles; the guitars glisten in the sun- a little bit of The Smiths comes out. APLT hooks you from the very first notes; it grows and begins to stomp. The percussion grows in fever and intensity; stamping and stomping its mark, the vocal comes into effect- the performance has an energy and sense of purpose that makes the words stand out. Inside a danceable and engaging sonic whirlpool (a house lingers); one that has so many doors and rooms- “so much history.” You begin to piece together the home and occupants; the walls and colour schemes- everything starts to come to life. Painting a vivid and detailed picture, our hero lets his tones swoop and guide. Ensconced with his spouse (and her mum), there is a familial charm and wittiness to proceedings- the themes and storyline is highly original and impressively narrated. Displaying the northern humour and scenic unfoldings of The Smiths and their acolytes, you are hooked into the song. Parts of Jamie T’s Kings & Queens‘ charm and voice presents itself in the spirited and twisted take- on the vagaries (of modern life). That same expressiveness and vitality; the way he perfectly highlights the sterile atmosphere of the city streets- this all comes through in APLT. The house sees the sun set; the smells and olfactory images are projected- the first consideration is getting into “your mum’s best wine.” Bonhomie and grace are uttered by the strings; it leads to a rapturous blitz of electronics- mixing with guitar, bass and percussion- the Electro.-Pop element blends with Indie-Rock to create a perfect partnership- like the two lovers dancing with one another. Down in the basement the pair unite and twirl; the joy and sense of freedom is tangible. Like a surveyance of modern life- Calgaris’s take on Parklife– all sorts of characters and neighbour dramas are unveiled. One of the neighbours has blood on his hand- inside his house lies the victim. That drama and searing tension is not dumbed-down or overlooked; the vocal projects a sense of seriousness while managing to remain someone buoyant and energised- ensuring the words do not come across as too depressing and mordant. The drama and sense of pace keeps running and charging; hoodlums and violent gangs lurk on the street. From the perfect homely warmth- of that charming house- comes the reality of the street- the vicissitudes and dangers that lurk around every corner. The generations are offering villains and violent thugs; our hero fears for his life- it seems everything outside his four walls provides malice and blood-shed. With an urban warfare unfolding, our frontman is left “shaking” and “scared (for my) life.” The only way to survive (the anxieties and hazards of the streets) is to decamp to the basement- shut the doors and hide away. The vocals and atmosphere layers and climbs; the urgency and weight grows and expands- there is still a huge emphasis on energy and elliptical presentation. Mixing some elements of You Me at Six- with a very unique take- it is a riot of wonderful sounds and blends. It is a shame the streets and neighbourhoods offer nothing but rage and heartache. The idioms of the concrete jungle are taking their toll. Although the sweethearts are making “calls to the police“, the band never let go of their rainbow assault- the electronics fizz with intent; the vocal powers and projects with immense force and passion. Captured by the lyrical intricacies and progressing story-line, I was struck by how original a song it is- few bands take their minds away from love and themes of relationship heartache. Not only is APLT such a brilliantly fascinating mini-opera; it is a bristling étude into the ever-present horrors of modern Britain. Able to get the body moving, the crowds chanting- it is a song that seduces in so many different ways. Most people- at the biggest festivals- would not usually chant lines of neighbourhood murders and gang violence- they will be soon! That contrast of intimate wine-drinking contentment- and dark and seedy underbelly- fuses magnificently- in a song that steals the breath. Sugar swings out the blocks with industrial clatter and combobulation- the sound of waste being dumped on a concrete floor. The smash and breakage leads to a howling execration riff- one that stings, wails and swaggers. After the intrigue opening few seconds, the band spare no time in getting things going- pulling out a top-drawer riff that lifts the bones from the body. Recently, a list of the top 100 guitar riffs was conducted (by the BBC)- Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love won. Looking down the list, there are some pretty ineffectual and weak riffs. Calgaris make their claim for the top leagues; pulling out a hell of a lot of firepower and vitality- a rambunctious and sweaty clammer the likes of Bloc Party would have killed for. Meaty, intense and rampaging; the instability grabs onto your brain- it has a great mix of U.S. Grunge and Garage in addition to Britpop majesty. Letting the listener imagine, guess and speculate- what is to come- the initial phases of Sugar do not rot the teeth- they kick them clean out of the head. Not sweet and saccharine, it summons the kind of fist-moving fury methotrexate could not cure. When our hero arrives at the microphone, his voice is intent and clear- his thoughts laid bare and his determination unbeatable. Containing some echo and reverb, the vocal combines strong clarity with atmospheric heady fuzz- a concoction that ensures the lyrics have that additional measure of invigoration and spellbind. Speaking to his sweetheart- or former love- he wants her to say the words he longs to hear- the urgency and projection (of the vocal) gets the prefrontal cortex working overtime. Having undertones of singers like Jack White, Rob Thomas and Thom Yorke; the electrifying and gripping delivery has some edge, vulnerability and feral attack- a concoction that is defined by its passion and persistence. Keen to be fed “lies and pleasantries“; that option is better than facing fears- you start to speculate what is being referenced. In my thoughts, maybe the relationship is on the rocks; reaching its dying days- that revelation may be too bitter to swallow. Preferring deceit and soul-soothing words, our frontman is tripping around the truth; keen to avoid the axe falling- that openness and sensitivity is rare to find. A lot of songs reverse gender roles and situations: go on the attack or show their lead a bit arrogant and aloof. By having a song that presents genuine fear and hurt, it makes it stand out- combined with the attacking and primal guitar work, it is a psychotropic and scintillating flirtation. The delivery of the words remains controlled and measured; the lines are delineated with a strict pace- meaning every word is understood (and gets inside of your head). Instead of tumbling lyrics and needlessly spitting, our hero shows consideration for clarity, atmosphere and posterity. That insanely pressing and rollicking battle- between strings, percussion and bass- makes the lyrics vivid and dripping (with sweat and emotion). When the love breaks down and dies- that is being accepted now- our hero wants to be remembered- have his girl hold his name and not forget what they have been through. Never succumbing to tearfulness or weakness, our man keeps his spine firm- showing some emotion but not letting it overwhelm the senses. Blending together the best elements of ’90s Garage/Grunge- The White Stripes, The Von Bondies, Soundgarden etc.- into the fray; together with lacing of personality and individual intent- you have a song that burnishes with a splendid commingle of grit, passion and sensitivity. The chorus is met with a round of unified vocals; chanted and belted, the song’s title becomes a call-out to the world- a cry that rings with masculine force and emotional candour. What is being offered- the harsh truth- is a poison of jagged pills; sugar is easier to swallow- a panacea for the pain. Carried away on the grumbling and rumbling riff, our hero unites with his cohorts- the chorus contains an incredibly tight and focused assault. Perhaps not as down-turned and beaten as once feared, our hero begins life- after the chorus ends- in renewed spirit. Perhaps the relationship (ending) has been a good thing; our man seems intent to escape confinement and limitations. Being trapped by the nefarious aspects of love- the power games, head messing and need to be controlling- the heroine is being stripped and humbled- our hero is a man with a message. The riff matches morose and smirking swing with an endlessly compelling bite and machete kick- a stone-cold pendulum that could easily fit on a Jack White record. That fuzzy and strung-out delirium does not get out of hand (or drunkenly stumble)- it is a crystalline and determined rifle. Our frontman’s vocal remains impressively resolute and strong; the confidence and self-assurance increases as he inculpates his lover. You wonder whether this lease of independence (is as a result of emotional clarity) or the consequence of a messy break-up- I wonder whether the hero is starting to spiral a little. When it is said there are “genuine concerns” and (the fact he’ll) “never learn“; maybe alarm bells ring- perhaps there is a downward emotional trajectory unfolding. The chorus’s reintroduction brings back that sweet-sour contrast- the truth of reality is a bitter and sharp taste; his mouth is filled with copper tang, blood-taste regrets and alcoholic linger. Something more soothing and medicinal is required. That recriminated and angered core begins to crown and bludgeon- his sweetheart damn sure better not forget his name! The movie hero astride a motorcycle, that cocksure and rebellious attitude is crackling and intense- the cool and composed delivery ensures you are rooting for him. In the swirls and unsalable grasp of the composition, you cannot help but to move your feet and sing along- even break out the air guitar! It is a chunky and sexy tongue-licking bite- that demands the amps be turned up to 11 (a sure-fire festival monster of the future). Designed to get the crowds jumping; the tired tongues singing aloud- it is unashamedly memorable and anthemic. Betraying a debt to no-one, the guys harmonise with menacing intent- their notes and weaves are designed to mess with the senses. That chorus is one of the most striking facets- it is both catchy and pummeling; uplifting and accusatory- a heady brew indeed. Cramming as much confidence and attack into one track- as a lot of acts do in an E.P. or album-it is an incredibly strong continuation of intent.
If Sugar‘s title had some irony and misleading possibilities, you wonder what Holy Books will provide- if there is irreligious and atheistic prophecy (or something purer and more divine). The swelling and elongated organ hum- of the introduction’s early moments- makes me think of both possibilities. There is a purity and gracefulness to it; a sense of danger and possible explosion- once more the band subvert expectation; keep you guessing and prime the imagination. Fragmented, reverse-sounding and experimental, the sounds rush and swell- like ocean waves pulling you in; recollections of Prog. masters and Psychedelic wonders come through. Following the opening salvo’s dirty Rock luster, here there is something more temporised and focused. Following from the head-spinning choral mantra, piano notes come in- struck initially…an ellipsis is unfolded, before another note is firmly uttered. It gives the song a combination of stern romance-cum-urgency that gets you intrigued and hooked- just how will the track unfold? The graceful and immaculately swooning vocal (that enters) is an unexpected sound. From the Rock god grime and gravel (of the opener); we now hear the tender and chorister hero- with a heartbreaking vocal delivery. Mixing R ‘n’ B soulfulness with stunningly pure falsetto, the song goes into romantic territory. Bathed by the moonlight and the twilight glow, there is a bit of an edge to the profferings. At first, promises are investigated; being treated right- staying pure and righteous. As the story and background is unveiled, it seems the song’s hero has been mislead- “She swore to you that she was 17.” Perhaps a juvenile and deceitful heroine has been leading the man astray- instantly your mind bonds to avenues of mis-matched love and something a little seedy. Under the graceful and exceptional spine-tingle of the vocal tremulousness, there is a great juxtaposition- the words become darker and slightly perverted; the presentation nothing but ethereal and transcendent. Pouring as much chocolate, silk and sexuality into a voice (as I have heard), our hero acts as a pastor and guiding light- someone who is casting blame and looking down (at the scene). It seems the hero knew the truth all along- with regards the real age of the girl- but tried to fool himself. Maybe knowing- that the bond is perhaps ill-judged and unwise- the ingenue heroine is a bit surprised- her man wants to be friends; pushing her aside. Backing the frontman’s smooth and purifying vocal are sparse and evocative clicks; slinky R ‘n’ B beats- it is minimalist but hugely evocative. Biblical messages are the synonym for judgement- they seem irrelevant in the modern age. When situations like this arise- a young woman falls for an older man- fingers are pointed and naysayers get moralistic and preachy. Immune to the irony and irrelevance of holy scripture, they need to open their mind (and get in the real world). There is righteousness and universal truth in Holy Books– we all need love and closeness; the sense of not being alone. Every person wants to find someone who makes them feel less hollow and lonely- age gaps and cultural differences are not barriers; they are merely numbers and differences. In a world where there is too much sermonising and judgmental attack; embrace what life offers- the song’s heroine is wise beyond her years. Unsurprised by continued and endless judgement, there is a need to break free and escape- the modern life Romeo and Juliet are being pilloried and divided (by narrow-minded forces). You root for the heroine and want her to be happy; she is being pushed away for no good reason- that tangible sense of sorrow and regret comes through. It is the heartbreaking and spellbinding vocal that makes the song such a naked and stunning gem- such a contradiction to the events of Sugar. Calgaris have effortlessly evolved from low-down sweaty strut- where monster riffs feast on the bones- to something gorgeous, wise and hugely evocative. The beats crackle and conspire with haunted piano; our hero’s voice rises towards the end. He provides words of solace and hope- the heroine will find light in “the darkest times.” Someone worthy and good will win her heart. As our frontman lets his voice soar and rapture, the words are underlined and intensified- hold out for the right person and they will come along. Displaying the same sort of knee-buckling potential (as the likes of) Sam Smith, the vocal is a stunningly entrancing thing- you are sucked into the song’s beauty. Not only does it mean the E.P. ends with a gorgeous and powerful ending- it concludes with the finest track. From the trippy and odd beauty of Knots; through Pop majesty and swaggering sweat- the E.P. comes full-circle. It ends with as much brilliance as it begun; has seen so much passion and mesmerise- the band manage to whip up a huge amount of wonderment (across four tracks). Having accrued some fevered and awed press, the E.P. will be picking up a lot more- giving the vibrant quartet plenty of impetus and patronage.
Before I get down to congratulating the band’s players, it is worth investigating the album (some more). The production is incredible and atmospheric throughout. Polished and clear, all of the myriad notes and diversities are given full room to shine- nothing is mixed too low and buried. Most new bands- when unveiling an E.P.- tend to put the vocals too far down the mix. This leads to incomprehensible and muffled offerings; the intelligibility of the lyrics gets lost. All of the vocals, compositions and words come through crisply and concisely (on I). With full consideration towards nuance, emotion and resonance; the production ensures every note and sound glimmers and gleams (with intent). The track listing is perfect, too. Knots is an obvious opener- although it would have worked as a outro. track. APLT is a perfect follow-on (from Knots). It has a wonderful blend of humour, charm, catchiness and darkness- going in too hard or soft would have been an unwise move. From that heaviness-cum-passion arrives Sugar– a song that marries stunning riffs with some accusations and disjointed love. Needing something redemptive and spectral, Holy Books offers just that. A gorgeous swan-song; the band manage to run a full gamut of emotions- ending with uplifting and sensational beauty is the perfect move. Leaving the E.P. on the finest track, the quality increases song-by-song. Far surpassing their contemporaries and peers, Calgaris have crafted a wondrous and sensational E.P. With only three tracks (four if you include Knots) it leaves the listener wanting more- you end the record needing more of their creamy goodness. Most other acts would artlessly shove half a dozen tracks together; pack too much into their records- meaning the quality would dip. On I, Calgaris ensure the quality never dips; there is a constant momentum and sense of fascination- the public are definitely going to want to hear more. Although drops of Jack White, You Me at Six, Thom Yorke and Led Zeppelin may come through (on certain numbers), you are going to struggle to find any sound-alikes- the band are very much in control of their own unique personalities. Fusing multiple genres and decades (through their music) the E.P. is a triumph of style and substance- over copycatting and limited ambitions. It is worth congratulating the incredible drum work that occurs (throughout the E.P.). On numbers like Sugar it is a beastly and primal thing; not only does it wail and unleash its potent power- it manages to keep things controlled (and drive the song forward). Through I, the percussion work guides and drives the songs; keeps the back firm (and offers up so much passion), urgency and soul. Determined and stout; swaggering and pulsating, the performances are consistently gripping. The bass work is brilliant and authoritative. Melodic, tight and muscular, there are so many shades and variations- on each song, new sounds and deliveries come out. Like the greats of bass, Calgaris ensure they do not lazily slop together their bass notes- there is a clear sense of drama, lust and fervency throughout. Snaking and pulsating on Sugar; catchier and more Pop-inspired up top, it is impressive how many genres, lines and layers are worked (into the bass). With the guitars almost stealing focus and attention, plaudits must be paid to them. Together with keys and electronics, the instruments uncover so many different emotions and thoughts. When moods are bad-ass and rebellious, the riffs strut and punch their way through; when cosmic and astral moons swirl and circle- the keys and electronics are suitably evocative and dreamy. On Holy Books the piano is the standout; on Sugar the guitar riffs steal focus; on Knots both spar for focus. The vocal deliveries are stunning throughout. Within cuts like Sugar, that man-on-a-mission grit unites the Blues-Rock gods of the U.S. with the Britpop masters of the U.K.- it is an authoritative and hugely urgent performance. APLT has more Pop-flavoured elements- the vocal remains upbeat and is consistently gripping and emotive. On Holy Books the performance is a still and tremulous revelation- a stunningly pure thing (that showcases the full range on offer). Impressed by the wonderful vocals of our hero, it is an instrument that could achieve anything; sit comfortably within any type of song- it never yields to convention and predictability. The acuity and focus Calgaris put into I results in a sensational and wonderful debut- one of the most impressive sapling E.P.s (I have heard this year). If another E.P. (or album) were to come in 2015, it is going to be one of the most sought-after releases of the year- early feedback has been incredibly laudable and complimentary. It seems that no reviewer or listener will be immune to the wonders and staggering quality of the record- make sure you grab a copy.
Unbridled passion and urgency comes out in I– an E.P. that does Calgaris proud. The northern quartet has their sights trained and set to the coming year- look out for them. It is clear they have ambition and plenty of quality at their disposal. Unlike a lot of modern-day Indie acts, the trio have a unique edge and sense of identity- they are not a humdrum and regurgitated incarnation of Arctic Monkeys. The trio (of fully-fledged numbers) on I showcase plenty of intelligence, conviction and determination; there are layers of sounds and lots of unexpected moments- the force and scintillation is hard to ignore. Not too cocksure and swaggering; never too lightweight and unmemorable, the gang have struck upon a wonderful sound. Their E.P. is a tight, taut and stunning testament to their endeavours and ambitions- I am sure we will be hearing a lot more of them in the near-future. Imbuing their music with tight and compelling performances, incredible vocals- stunningly rich and mesmeric compositions- I am predicting some very good things. Too many up-and-coming acts have little in the way of true potential and uniqueness- even some mainstream artists seem to be bogged-down and stuck in a rut. Calgaris’s mix of dirty Rock songs and sweeter Pop moments sits incredibly well together; they have a natural affinity for everything they play- that conviction and urgency comes through strikingly. Before I finish up, it is worth scanning around the U.K.; seeing what new music is offering up- what sort of sounds will be popularised and expounded. I have probably heard my fill of vague and limited Indie bands- it is always nice hearing one with huge potential and a variegated sound. New music’s nomenclature rankings will see the best bands defined by originality and difference- not those that lazily play and ply (with little regard for sticking in the mind). Too many bands do not resonate and seduce; their sounds fail to hit at first- dissipating with little charming linger. Calgaris have restored faith and invigoration in me; they are among the hungriest and most pressing bands of today- it will be fascinating to see where they go from here. Already growing in stature- across their native towns- the quartet are gathering steam and propulsion. The Yorkshire-based band’s apparel is as distinct, colourful and fashionable as any out there- that blend of cool-cum-classic is a valuable commodity. There are scant few (acts) that unify fascinating sounds and scenes together; ensure they linger in the imagination- Calgaris will be making big steps across 2015. I hope they come down to London so I can see them play; hear I in the flesh- get to witness the music in its natural setting. The guys should be proud of what they have achieved; reconcile this lust and potential into some great future cuts- I am sure they have songs and ideas percolating and circulating their brains. It is just left to me to offer recommendation: check out the intrepid Calgaris and all they have to offer. They are not an act that are going to be short-term and transitory. If you want your music Indie-flavoured; with edges of softer Pop and dirtier grooves- something exciting, anthemic and soft at once- then check them out. So many bands do the bare-minimum (and do not stay in the mind). Calgaris are an act that will definitely strike your brain and soul…
IT is about time, too.
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