Calling Apollo – ‘The Great Depression: Act 1’ EP Review

Calling Apollo - TGDA1 Artwork

People in the music industry often use the phrase “Difficult Second Album” and, to be honest, it’s one I’ve genuinely never understood. Mainly because bands like Calling Apollo follow up a well-received debut (last year’s ‘Hunter | Gatherer’) with an absolute barn-stormer like ‘The Great Depression: Act 1’, released August 19th on Signal & The Noise Records, the band’s own label.

Taking elements from many genres but not staying within any particular one, this EP flows from anthem to melody to full-on rock to chill seamlessly and effortlessly. Much of that is down to lead singer Christian Neale and his ability to change his vocal tones as required and seems equally at home singing the almost post-hardcore songs as well as those nearer to the stripped-back, acoustic-esque end of the scale. A very rare feat indeed. But credit must also go to the rest of the band – Dan & Kevin on lead guitars, Luke on bass and drummer Zak who manage to raise 2nd track ‘Clone City’ from a song that could have been a MCR-copy into arguably one of the best of the songs on the EP. Although that honour could just as easily go to latest single ‘Obelisk’, which treads the very fine line between rock and metal and ultimately delivers nearly 6 minutes of utter aural pleasure. Dark, brooding guitars and a killer drum-line build throughout the beginning until a mid-song peak. This is anthemic rock as it should be, demanding repeated listening and is almost certainly going to become a live-crowd favourite. There’s also a relevant theme in the lyrics of not believing everything you hear -“We keep taking what we’re fed”- all delivered with a suitably aggressive, punk-rock-like vocal. Showcasing their versatility, ‘The Wars’ starts as a complete opposite of what has come before. But it’s a deceptive slow-burner, luring you in with melodies and emotional vocals building throughout the song – it’s basically the musical version of The Usual Suspects. Just when you think you’ve figured everything out and you know how it’s going to end, the twist comes and you go straight back to the beginning with a whole new understanding and appreciation of the genius involved. ‘Act 1: House Of Cards’ sees the band back on more familiar territory, being as it is a fast-paced, uptempo rock belter but with a great chilled-out ending which continues into the next, and final, track on the EP, ‘…And The High Plateau’. Although that stripped-back feel, with barely-there vocals, only lasts so long until a brutal guitar riff comes in and reminds you why these guys are one of the best up-and-coming alt-rock bands in the UK right now. I especially like the guitar effect of the ending, which closes the EP perfectly and leaves you eagerly awaiting ‘Act 2’. And if that’s anywhere near as good as this, it’ll be well worth the wait…

 

 

 

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