Album: CalicoLoco – I Love Myself

A duo comprising of Dani Robles & Zeke Ramsey, CalicoLoco have made a really lovely racket on this Ur Mom Records released album. I can’t help but love the dizzy, punky bounce that’s sprinkled across a lot of these songs – all hyperactive exuberance and spiky rhythms; there’s almost something reminiscent of early Supergrass in the Caught by the Fuzz bob of opener Gender Dysphoria, especially in the vocal yelps delivered so enthusiastically. It’s a great entry point to this little adventure.  

This is music that feels gloriously young and fun and yet this isn’t some bubblegum pop-punk superficial offering – there’s poise and purpose around these personal explorations and things often enter more subtle bedroom-pop textures during the bridges of these songs to reflect this. It’s still the sound though of two young people enjoying hitting their guitars and revelling in the marvellous noise they make- revelling too in the dynamic possibilities of quiet/loud juxtapositions. They do this very well indeed. 

These songs don’t shy away from the deeply personal though- reflecting as they do upon identity, trauma, and anxiety amongst other things. There’s a glammy, jagged quality to the guitars on Crash Dummy that adds yet more interest and a vocal theatricality that even dances into Suede territory. This is no straight punk album by any means. 

Indeed there are grander atmospheres that develop that feel like a return to Shoegaze experiments, and in the quieter moments on Can You Drive Me Home – echo those many early 90s bands that had fallen head over heels for Bowie’s Ziggy era. I Miss My Friend is a particular highlight – toying as it does with dream-pop textures and featuring a lovely keyboard line and accompanying, sensitive melody; it builds gradually but it maintains that richness of production in the process, the vocals gathering beautifully to impactful emotive effect. Zeke Goes To Lala though feels like a hit! (albeit one that crept out of a lost 90s parallel universe.) It makes a glorious, melodious noise, with a nostalgic and dreamy ambience and Bluetones-evoking jangle intertwining effortlessly. It’s really quite lovely. The slight fizz of the close-to-the-mic vocals are affecting too- adding further emotional weight to these songs’ more subdued moments. But when, as on Nightmare Nightmare Nightmare, they really let rip, you realise what a powerhouse of a voice they have at their disposal. Yeehaw ends things dressed in seemingly more gentle attire – largely acoustic, carefully paced and filled with an overarching sense of yearning. Even here though, they can’t help but throw a grenade at its final few moments, exploding as it does in riotous and delightful cacophony. 

There isn’t a bad song on the album; though sonic similarities sometimes lend a blurring of the lines across some of their indie punk experiments, it is never anything but highly enjoyable. 

Released on May 10th on both digital and Ltd edition vinyl, it’s a set of songs that most certainly won’t disappoint. Please do have a listen. 

Written by M.A Welsh (Misophone)