04 May 2020

CALLIOPE self titled 1995


AllMusic Review by  [-]

The opening guitar strums on the band's debut say it all -- namely, "We love the Cocteau Twins and we're not afraid to show it." Then again, titling the song "Tangerines and Gingerale" and having the main vocalist sing in a breathy post-Chapterhouse tone of voice indicates a broader spectrum of twee and shoegazing at play. Add to that a strong if basic drum punch and the harmonica at points and the sense is of a band content to try several different things at once, with fine if not terribly original results. Said sense is maintained throughout the album's ten songs, meaning that Calliope is good listening for anyone interested in the above-mentioned points of comparison. It can be the beautiful end series of melancholy but energetic chiming on "Train of Thought," or the stripped-down intro of "Gennanica," with guitars, bass, voice and little else, but the key point is that lovers of electric guitar music who prefer texture over brute crunch will be in heaven. One happy point is that the band doesn't limit itself to the most obvious conclusions of blissout, very rarely approaching guitar stun level at any point. Thus, "Vibrochamp and the Galactic Solution," bemusing title aside, boasts some lovely trumpet à la the Boo Radleys' earlier confections. Sometimes the combinations produce some slight head-scratchers -- the apparently affected British accent on "Laughing at Roadsigns" would make more sense for Fairport Convention than it does here. Most of the time, though, everything connects just right. The final two tracks make for a good ending -- the slightly more energetic but still attractively cool and arranged "A Taste for Killing," with some intentionally amusing vocal squeals for effect, and the minute-long instrumental "Trillium," quick but big, guitars and bass echoing off into the distance.


1 Tangerines And Gingerale 4:46
2 Laughing At Roadsigns 3:25
3 Vibrochamp And The Galactic Solution 3:01
4 Train Of Thought 5:05
5 Will I Or Never So 5:02
6 If I 6:14
7 Gennanica 3:10
8 Ode To River Phoenix 1:32
9 A Taste For Killing 5:58
10 Trillium 1:05

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