"Fresh, unpredictable and brimming with influences"
Luke Scanlan
12:52 1st February 2019

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One month into 2019 could be too early to talk about Album of The Year nominations, but that sentiment may be worth reconsidering when you hear Calva Louise’s debut Rhinoceros. Fresh, unpredictable and brimming with influences from punk to garage rock, the Manchester trio have created something truly irresistible.

Opener ‘I Heard A Cry’ is as tasty a punk tune as you could hope to hear all year. The yumminess comes from the delicate acoustic guitar that can be heard weaving its way between the unfolding chaos, forming two brilliant bridges of anticipation before big climaxes. ‘I’m Gonna Do Well’ has a mean, marauding darkness. Not mean in a way that will leave you in a ball under a blanket, but mean in a way that will make you smash your way through the bleak winter.

‘Tug of War’ is a song that will make you feel like you’re receiving a heavenly shoulder rub, whilst someone waxes your legs. Its delightful beach-pop riffs ripple perfectly whilst the punch of punky drums wrestle over the top. Elsewhere, ‘Outrageous’ is all punch and no massage, a real “up-yours” that has a likeness to the abrasive early Elastica, while ‘Getting Closer' is a brilliantly written piece that could grow to become the ballad of the twenty-somethings. Lyrics such as “I think that I’m getting to closer to what I’ve tried to become” scarily resonate with the troubles of following a career path, and trying to earn money to eat something other than meal deals as well as affording rent in the city. The pop-punk influences are felt here, with the slouching, strolling bassline setting the pace for this reflection on trying to “adult”. The quality of production provides such a crisp sound that is the perfect soundtrack to capture the buzz of the New Year’s clean slate.

‘Wondertale’ has murmurs of heartbreak and happiness at the same time. On a purely emotive level, they can conjure that addictive feeling of simultaneously being in love and heartbroken because you know one day it will end. 

Any good punk rock album needs a pile-driver of a song that feels like the brakes have been cut. ‘Cruel Girl’ is breaking every speed limit, a mosh-ready anthem that makes the speakers shake and ears ring. With that, it could be said, any well-rounded album has a song to level things out. ‘Down The Stream’ is a warming waltz, “I’m swimming down the stream, the stream of my dreams,” perhaps epitomising the mind-set of this band ahead of the release of this superb debut.

‘Out of Use’ has a bassline that sounds like offbeat reggae before it descends into the smoothness of pure rock ‘n roll. It’s a wise move to end the album with this track, and a showcase of what this band’s talent is capable of: just as you put your finger on it, it changes again.

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