On its 2013 self-titled debut, Calliope sneered at current musical trends and offered up a sleazy, unabashed slab of dirty roadhouse blues. It was the kind of record that felt willfully out of time, something that would be equally at home in a classic rock fan’s battered LP collection and a particularly nasty David Lynch film. Vocalist Al Kraemer made no bones about channeling his inner Jim Morrison, and the band followed suit with a sound that veered between Doors-indebted stoner rock and outlaw country. It wasn’t an entirely successful album, but its disdain for fashion made it compelling nonetheless.
On the new ORBIS, however, Calliope dives deep into the current wave of fuzzed-out psych and surfaces with its best music yet. All of the band’s signatures are still there: Kraemer sounds even more like Morrison, and the band seems to give even less of a shit about what you think about its influences. But one listen to the druggy, synth-drenched opener “Prelude,” or the sprawling, lighter-hoisting title track makes it clear that Calliope has finally found its niche. The excellent “Casino” takes things even further by injecting some garage-rock piss and vinegar into the hazy psychedelic mold.
The fact that ORBIS was recorded in a remote north-woods cabin might suggest some Bon Iver-esque soul searching, but no: This is Calliope at its most acidic, its most trippy, and, as always, its most unapologetic. Listen to the album in its entirety, only at Milwaukee Record.
Calliope celebrates the vinyl release of ORBIS Friday, June 6 at Linneman’s. Shoot Down The Moon opens the show.