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Calliope | Braille (Thick)
It arrives, as if borne on sunrays and pollen fragranced air, mere days after the vernal equinox and breathes life into a musically cold time. It comes with baggage too, their previous album was my top one for the year and the press release even quotes my review of it. Can a fragile bloom survive the rigours of the English weather? It loops into life as Detroit Girl builds on riff after beat, layering itself to heady heights without being top heavy while telling the common tale of unrequited love for a Michigan woman. Love = Energy soars into the ether, all fuzz and warmth, while attempting to rewrite Einstein by throwing love into the equation and Bumblebee floats like a butterfly and stings like an unexpected kiss. If their forerunning gem of an album had sounded like a summer night then this has spring running through its core. There is a lightness around the shimmering guitars, the trumpets drift like blossoms and the drums could well be the stirring of insect wings. Have I gone all soppy in the sun, you ask? Maybe, or I might just be giddy on the dandelion wine of the Calliope sound. But, you say, springtime isn't all sun and flowers, there are dark clouds. Well, Lilac has a chill, but not too harsh, the flowers will survive, for this is a perfect spring, the ones that are in our dreams. Even the Wicker Man feel of Wrong Things doesn't darken the blue skies and the picnic party of Sassafras is attended by the type of animals that inhabit a Warner Brothers cartoon and will cheer the hardest of hearts. All good things must end and so Take My Body Home closes in fine style, drifting off on the same scented air that heralded the record's arrival. It may sound like spring, but I guarantee this will last past the solstice and well beyond the long, cold nights to emerge the other side, blinking in the bright sunlight, still fresh as a daisy and smelling of roses. By that time it'll be high on my top ten list no doubt.

Laurence Arnold
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002