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Calva Louise - 'Rhinoceros' Album Review


1. I Hear A Cry

2. I'm Gonna Do Well

3. Tug Of War

4. Outrageous

5. No Hay

6. Getting Closer

7. Wondertale

8. Cruel Girl

9. Down The Stream

10. Out Of Use

There are some artists and bands where you can instantly think of something else that their sound is similar to.

Calva Louise is not one of those bands.

This London based trio initially defy all explanation. Their foreign roots (self described as one part Venezuelan, one part Māori and another part English) would be an easy means of explaining away the originality that hits you straight away with ‘Rhinoceros’s opening track “I Hear A Cry” but truthfully the album is choked full of surprising juxtapositions and old ideas presented in a new way that said excuse doesn’t really cut it.

I am genuinely concerned that my limited grasp of the English language will struggle to convey this, so bear with me while I give it a go -

‘Rhinoceros’ is what would happen if you took 90s riot gurl style Punk and Grunge, and then smashed it together with some 50s doo-wop. It is both gritty, and light and fluffy. It’s hard, soft, clean, dirty, and all manner of other conflicting describing words you can imagine. The effect of these contrasting elements grooving together is positively mesmerising.

“I Hear A Cry” starts us off with a youthful energy and lots of weird noises and fun vocal parts. It’s an infectious and instant classic to the ears with a wonderful driving rhythm and impressive control of dynamics. Ticking a little over 2 minutes it’s an adrenaline shot to kick off one of the most enjoyable album experience you could ever have.

This energy, dynamic play and balance of beautiful harmonies and synth work against driving distortion and unrelenting rhythm is the most solid theme throughout the album - with no track managing to escape this bipolar musical feat, and this manages to keep the album fresh throughout as no song fits into its own category. It makes for a very cohesive experience overall - I do think some would struggle with that as it’s almost a one long song experience over a collection of songs, but personally - I dig it!

Every track has some surprise or some twist that just keeps you hooked, like “Getting Closer” has a gutteral distorted long scream that just dissolves into a beautiful light Pop “Ooos” and “Wondertale” is a comforting blanket of synth ballad-like 80s moments, frequently interrupted with short guitar bursts and a chorus that manages to keep both the Rock and the nostalgic dreamy melody line fuse together perfectly.

This is the album I wish someone had given to me when I was 15. It’s ridiculously fun, fascinating, beautiful and aggressive. I highly recommend that if the sonic concept of X Ray Spex deciding to work with Kasabian on rewriting the soundtrack for “Grease” appeals to you, then listen to this. RIGHT NOW!

Review - Kayleigh Morgan

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