words by tom johnson
When we covered Calgrove’s debut EP, some fourteen months or so ago, we described it as a small gem of a record which “drips with atmosphere, all lofi roots and an almost unplaceable endearing charm“, and while the same could be said of their brand new release, the five-track Wind Vane EP, the band have also carved out new ways of shifting the subtle colour of the space around their songs, the new collection feeling a little more widescreen, a little more impactful, than that aforementioned initial offering.
Based in Baltimore, the quintet share songwriting duties, and while you can hear the creative gaze shifting from song to song, the whole thing still hangs together beautifully, these five earnest songs drifting gently between hazy Americana and something less pronounced; Princess Reason’s Jack Stansbury is a member of the band, and his more fragile lofi meanderings occasionally worm their way in to compelling affect.
Opening track ‘Hot’ is a gritty opener, the dimmed vocals limping over a bed of altogether brighter guitar-led undulations, while ‘Back It Up’ adds a more dramatic, dead-of-night country-rock backdrop that eventually gives way to a pertinently muscular swirl of cascading guitars and tense atmosphere. Elsewhere, the gentle lap steel and talk of the devil and “dirty rotten bastards” on ‘Cry’ is Calgrove’s take on an old-school country ballad, before the closing title-track turns the whole thing on its head with a beautifully crafted nine-minutes; the first half all sprightly and soft vocals, and a second-half of gorgeous, lilting guitar work that drifts on and on and on again until you find yourself totally consumed by it.
Pre-order the new EP here