Album Review: Calva Louise - 'Rhinoceros'
Having already stormed into the public’s semi-consciousness with a tour slot with fast-rising label mates The Blinders and four phenomenal singles (before the promotional release of ‘Tug of War’) we already know that this band are a creative tour-de-force, a whirlwind of adrenaline and endorsers of phenomenal hooks. On their debut album ‘Rhinoceros’, a loose concept album based on a comic book written by the band they add substance to their quite frankly impeccable style.
The album starts with a bold but successful familiarity seeing four of the five singles Calva Louise have released this year hold down the album’s first four tracks. While it's a courageous effort to start an album with songs we've already heard, it works. ‘I Hear a Cry’ is a delicious fuzzy slice of pop punk, ‘I'm Gonna Do Well’ is a self-motivational anthem and ‘Outrageous’ builds from what is originally a track that bubbles the blood with excitement into a monolith that occupies your head for months. ‘Tug of War’, a track very memorable on its own, almost breezes by thanks to the strength of its peers but the jangly britpop has a "whoo-hooo" catchier than Blur’s “Song 2”.
‘Rhinoceros’ as a whole reminds me of the sound of three distinct personalities raised in Seattle on a diet of nothing but the interludes from Blur's ‘Life’ trilogy. However, it's so much more diverse than that. ‘No Hay’ is half sung/half rapped in Spanish and features stomping drums and whooping whistles played in almost an oompah style.
First single ‘Getting Closer’ is doo-wop hardcore psychedelia- much more accessible than you might imagine. But what these songs all share is an heartful honesty that makes Calva Louise one to watch in 2019.
‘Wondertale' is a respite to the seemingly irrepressible energy, but serves instead to add emotion to that intensity and its dream state style lyrics make it an album highlight. Calva Louise's impressive storytelling, phenomenal ear for a tune and willingness to experiment has made this rough around the edges debut a statement of intent for UK alternative music. What is incredible is that they think they can do better. I for one am already excited for what is still to come from Calva Louise.
Words by James Kitchen