Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Calvin's Self-Titled Debut Album

Calvin - Self-Titled

Out today, Calvin's self-titled debut album can be downloaded for free until the 27th at their bandcamp site via the links above. Not only are Calvin rolling out their first release, but they are doing it under their new label AM Crown Records. Also on the new label are the Temangerines.

I got to listen to the Calvin album all the way through three different times today, and I can easily say that "Battleship" and "Falling" are the stand-out tracks. Calvin may agree with me as these are respectively the opening and closing songs on the seven track album. I have had the opportunity to hear many of these songs live as well as in different recorded renditions, but today was my first listen to the final studio version of this release. Calvin did a good job of putting the studio polish on all these well-tested tracks that they have carried with them over the past three years.

The first track "Battleship" opens with a watery ambient sound that slowly draws you in to the following synth and then the shining guitar work that will dominate the rest of the album. Relaxing electric-guitar finger picking carries you along lightly through the verses with a carefree melody before the tune drops suddenly into a much darker, free fall psychedelia. Calvin has developed a style that you will hear throughout all seven tracks that can delve deeply into serious guitar angst and then without warning fall back into ethereal light hearted rock music. "Battleship" manages to touch on all these notes and does a good job of setting the tone for the rest of the listening experience.

As the album continues through "Toasty Tickles," "Time Ticks," and "Hooked" the band falls back into the sound that makes them a true rock band. Solid rhythm tracks from the classic alternative rock power trio could have been enough to make these tracks a solid listen, but the addition of piano and other synthetic keys take these tracks toward another sound more akin to Radiohead. The electronic influences from members Cory and Kurt's side project Little Miss Mr can be heard with the additions of sampled beats throughout many of the latter parts of these songs.

The album begins to take its most psychedelic turn with the track "Tumor." Heavy drums lead into crooning background vocals and wandering guitar melodies. The intro clocks almost two minutes before any vocals come to the front of the arrangement. Even then the darkness of this track lays heavy on your ears as lead singer Cory's vocals lurk into the track with a deeper voice drone than heard anywhere before on the album. The vocals begin to soar more as the track leads you in the its most grooving composition "Hit the Ceiling."

The final track "Falling" is a treat with some of most expressive performances from the band. This track feels more live and the players really bring emotion to the recording. The raging guitar jam accentuates the vocals well before the band drops into another psychedelic piano laden jam. When the album ends, "Falling" leaves me wanting more.

Be sure to check it out for yourself below and leave your comments.

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