Review by: Sarah Vardy
Photos by: Jerry Sparkman
Video courtesy of Artist

“This Austin six-piece channels youthful energy that shows how much enjoyment can be found in life.” -KUTX

Just looking at Calliope Musicals’ Instagram profile you can tell these dudes are free and full of vitality and happiness. Embracing life to the max and letting go of fear can be difficult tasks with so many competing expectations these days. Calliope Musicals aren’t afraid to let it all hang loose with their infectious lust for being. I haven’t even seen these guys play live but from all reports and reviews, their photos don’t lie – their energy is enormous on stage.

The Austin based group erupts like a kaleidoscope of sound with a unique, folksy, psychedelic sound that just makes you want to throw your hands in the air, kick your shoes off, throw your head back and groove to the music. It’s sometimes hard to let go of all your worries and cares to just have fun – Calliope Musicals are not giving you a choice you will have to let go just to listen to them. Calliope Musicals are not a far cry from fellow Texans Wild Child crossed with The Polyphonic Spree, a sprinkle of Django Django, and a touch Of Montreal.

The new record Time Owes You Nothing from Calliope Musicals is pretty true to the title – time doesn’t owe you anything you have to embrace life. The first track called 1604 is a nice start to the record spewing from the speakers, gushing into a rainbow of sweeping sound layers, instruments and syncopated percussive elements. The vocal harmonies and sound layers remind me a little of Fleet Foxes.

The tempo picks up in the second song with an indie-rock vibe with bright guitars, sweet vocal hooks, tambourine, bass and a snappy 60s style drum beat. The title Echo of the Whoos is pretty appropriate with all the whooing going on.

I’ve listened to the album quite a few times now and the song that persistently gets trapped in my head is Sink or Swim. I love the lyrics in the chorus refrain “Sink or Swim, I choose to fly, Life aint for just getting by”. Interestingly there’s another track on the record called Swim or Sink. It’s maybe what the song would sound like if you just popped an acid trip.

The tracks Vegas and Happy Sandy Baby have a darker, more melodramatic mood to them. There’s a distinctive gypsy sound to Vegas and it speaks of dishonesty and lies. Whereas, Happy Sandy Baby sound similar to Nina Simone with whimsical, 60s style balladry.

Potting Daisies is a sweet song about falling in love and not making the call to be in a relationship. Modern dating is fairly tricky at the best of times with multiple potentials – potting daisies could truly be a much safer past time.

What My Eyes Found and Swim or Sink have serious psychedelic, space rock elements. Swim or Sink has an impressive Pink Floyd style build up. Tiny White Moths will get you out of your psychedelic coma with some Black Keys style overdriven guitars and rock pipe organs. The bass is big and bad in this one!

Velveteen is a warm and comforting song that kind of feels like a torn up, wet, stuffed toy. A little like the Velveteen Rabbit. I loved that book. There’s some epic, rolling drums and the lyrics are a little on the raunchy side!

Letters is a very pretty acoustic track with some excellent vocal harmonies. I really dig the lyrics too; especially the hook ‘Living as a human being is like singing letters to the world’.

Morning Ground and Be (Morning Ground Pt. 2) close out the album. Both tracks echoing the sentiment carried in the record title “time owes you nothing”. Calliope Musicals want you to consider every morning as a new day to start making your dreams come true. Part 2, I think if I’m reading it right is letting go of fear to make your happiness a reality.

So on that note, it’s up to you to get this record and start living in the now. This is a really complex and fun album. This is Calliope Musicals’ first full-length album recorded at Sound City Studios with Kevin Augunas. It will officially be released on Friday, April 15th!

In the meantime check out their new video clip album teaser in this post!

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