Calf is a noise/post-rock band from Greece that play what you’d expect to hear during a vicious descent into a discount hell. This four-piece is renowned for their ruthless music, surreal artwork and no shanks held approach to their craft and it certainly shows with their most recent release, Bastards anatomy use a unicorn go to apathy, which for my sake will now just be shortened to Bastards.
The album itself starts with the monstrous tune, Are you Laura Palmer? No I’m a fucking psycho, which I’ll admit, is a challenging listen. Why? I find it difficult to get into noise music, but there is more than enough substance here, amongst all the layers of noise, distortion and hell, for fans of other genres to get into. There are riffs dotted throughout this song, most notably on the bass and some gnarly drumming and sampled vocals. When the track finally does come to a halt, you breathe a sigh of relief, if only because of the ceasefire on the overbearing noise.
You’re only given a few seconds before the next song fades in, Lunacy box demon booth. This one drew me in a lot more; there are lots of little touches going off like little stops and starts, tempo changes and some groovy bass play. At one point it almost sounded like I was listening to Primus. Lunacy box demon booth, sort of loses any real puff it has for about a second and then kicks back into a barrage of noise, jarring guitar and thick bass.
Squeezing blue hope from my christian numb cock, is the first real break the listener is given. With numb hearing muscles, I exhaled and fell back into the post-rock mechanics kicking into place. Also, that title is a real mouthful (did have an innuendo here, but decided to be the bigger man, heh). This track shows versatility in the Calf ranks, but it also shows an important amount of restraint (sometimes). The guitars sound typically post-rock in tone, without sounding too tarty, even when things go in a different direction. This is the track you should listen to, if you want Calf lite.
The next two songs are The artist formerly known as a hipstercunt pt.I and of course The artist formerly known as a hipstercunt pt.II, not sure why they needed to be part 1 and part 2 since they fade into each other like the rest of the tunes…
Anyway! In both of these songs you’re getting very much typical and lethal Calf, granted, these songs feel much more measured in comparison to the dangerous levels of noise in Are you Laura Palmer? No I’m a fucking psych. Of course this is not a bad thing, I think Calf are at their best when they measure themselves out, otherwise the abrasive sounds and crushing tunes just become boring.
Thankfully, Calf did not become boring for me at all during the last two songs, although I preferred the long build-up, tease, silence and then RELEASE or part 2. That could just be my wimpy post-rock fan side coming out though.
Bastards anatomy use a unicorn go to apathy, kept me listening curiously until the end and despite having a few unexplainable bruises (most likely from summoning Satan), I enjoyed my experience. I’m surprised they didn’t put more distortion on the bass and I would have liked the vocal samples to be brought forward a bit more, but hey ho.
Calf are all about playing the long game; teasing their listeners until they can’t take anymore and then they change things up. This serves them incredibly well on Bastards and I was left guessing and scared, numerous times. I’m not sure how to describe Calf without referencing big names like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It’s just a case of listening to this uncompromising album and deciding if it’s your thing or not.
If it’s not, that’s okay, just pick up your woosy t-shirt and alcopops on your way out x