Caligari - "What You Hide"
(Peach Fuzz Records 2001, P.F. 20)
From Aural Innovations #19 (April 2002)
It's funny when you start to listen to something and start making associations. While there is certainly an element of the UK 80's Gloom and Doom new wave (y'know, the Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, especially New Order) I personally hear a fair amount that reminds me of the darker side of the post-Paisley Underground bands of California, specifically The Dream Syndicate and the old Davis, CA band the Popealopes, who put out several albums about 10-15 years ago. In fact the vocal on "What You Hide" is virtually a dead ringer for Popealopes vocalist Steve Dueker, uncannily so. Yet, my guess is these folks have never heard the Popealopes, may not have ever heard Dream Syndicate, and heck, maybe they aren't familiar with the Paisley Underground at all. Perhaps it is just a case of parallel development. That aside, What You Hide is a pretty darn good record. There is a dark, moody and vaguely psychedelic vibe that runs through most of the songs, in the same way that it did in most of the other bands mentioned above - it's really more of a feel than anything overt, there are no long guitar solos, trippy lyrics, or anything that obvious. Even the songs that are derivatively new wave sounding, such as "Not Perfect" and "Heaven, Hell & the Hereafter" maintain a high level of rough intensity and songcraft that many copyists lack. The noisy guitar/synth work also helps to keep things interesting on the instrumental "Mute" and, "Sea of Endless Chances" which ends things on a very squalling note. It's pretty easy to play spot the influences on this one, but while a bit derivative at times (and heck, most things are) this also is a very nice listen.
For more information you can visit the Caligari web site at: http://www.caligarimusic.com.
Reviewed by Brian Faulkner