The Calls – Garageland review

THECALLS2Think of early music from the Arctic Monkeys. Give it an adrenaline shot of attitude, self awareness, and a punch courtesy of The Streets. Chuck in a bunch of bass-y riffs. You’re hitting near the mark for the forthcoming release from Leeds four piece The Calls, their four track EP, Garageland, being out on March 18th. They’re influenced by big names, from The Smiths through John Cooper Clarke to Pulp, but they do a brilliant job of disregarding conformity entirely and not sounding like anyone but themselves.

Garageland is a handmade, rustic, rocking chair. There’s a down-to-earth tang in Tom Fuller’s vocals that secures its feet on reliable ground with an edge adding authenticity and more than a little character. There’s a perpetual energy that pushes through all of the tracks, not lulling after the eagerness of the first two has blown over and leaving the closing track to tie up any lose ends. And there’s the originality, the flare, that only comes up when something’s been handcrafted.

Turn the volume up and be ready to get winded by the kick the EP opens with in On The Stairs. Among the stop-start energy and Alex Turner-esque attitude, there’s a hint of The Who. Think not so much the music, but of the aggressive momentum depicted in Quadrophenia when the mods make a stand. This is a track that’s gonna bite back.

You could be fooled for thinking Back In Town was about to open up to be an early era Wombats track, and though there’s a similar feeling of begrudged enthusiasm in the vocal work, that’s where the common denominators end. The lyrics are relatively everyday – someone back in town, drumming up reasons to not see them – and whilst the line “it’ll never be the same” seems to add a little life, the motivation seems a little deflated.

Lovers and Thieves is the EP’s crowning joy – take all the best parts of late 90s-early 00s alt-rock and put them in a blender to produce this gem that sounds like a compilation best hits of them all. It’s below the three minute mark, but it’s a brilliant wave of energy that satisfies all nostalgia for the days when music meant kicking and screaming energy.

What We Left Behind starts off with an ambiguous riff that indie-pop bands like Circa Waves wouldn’t be keen to disregard, but give it ten seconds and the closing track brings some punches too. Let the full band come in and you’ve got a distinct bassline to push things along whilst the forefront of the track has riffs careering around and dancing all over it. Forty seconds seems like a short intro when it’s this absorbing, and once the instrumental shifts to the back burner and Fuller’s heavy vocals leap it, any trace of beach pop is blown away.

If you’re a fan of good music, you’ll be a fan of The Calls.

You can listen to Back In Town below.

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