At first listen, I hated this release. The opening track sounded too much like a Sugar Ray track, and that pretty much stopped my listening for a few days. Every time I thought of listening to it again, I was stopped by aural phantoms of goddamn Sugar Ray. Yet, duty calls and I played it again and, much to my chagrin, all those Sugar Ray reminders faded like yesterday’s news.
Calliope has a sound that could loosely be described as “space rock.” What that means, I have no idea. I suppose it’s the loose arrangements that encompass everything from some jazzy syncopation in the drumbeats, through electronic tweaking of melodies and synthesizers bubbling over in the background, to the airy compositions themselves. Most of these tracks rely on subtle instrumentations that often, though not always, use some acoustic guitars in the mix and the previously mentioned elements to create a memorable ride through space.
Normally, a mix such as Calliope has created may seem on paper to be a wholly heartless affair, somehow the actual description defies the soul of the band that is being described in the review. Not here! The band utilizes all these disparate elements to fashion sublime pop masterpieces (barring the first track, of course). At times, it sounds like Brian Eno and Big Star had arrived in the studio at the same time and decided to jam. The track “Take My Body Home” fairly well floats on gossamer wings and is evocative of the asynchronous effects of love as anything else anyone has recorded. Meanwhile, on the track “Love=Energy,” singer Andy Dryer ponders the long puzzled question: “Why don’t robots rule the Earth, why don’t apes just take it back?” Why indeed, Mr. Dryer!
Calliope has created one of the finest albums of the year. If you are like me and find that some of your favorite records began with an initial listen that ended with you quickly filing it away and saying, “Yes well… we’ll get back to this one,” then you may wish to check out this disc. Combining the finer elements of space rock with a dash of electronic and ambient, all rooted into a pop sensibility with heart. Who could ask for more?
Thick Records: http://www.thickrecords.com