It has been five years since UK alternative/progressive rockers Cauls delighted and impressed with their EP simply called 2. It turns out it has been a time which almost saw the band call it a day just as it was beginning to make a major impact on the UK music scene. Thankfully they pulled out of the nose dive and after a line-up change found the energy and inspiration to go again. That thankfulness even more pronounced now with the release of their debut album Recherché.
An atmospheric, provocative, and continually rousing blend of alternative/progressive and post rock with earthier post hardcore intensity, the band’s sound and release has evolved into a fire of imagination and enterprise. You would expect and hope each release outshines the last and pushes things on again, something which does not always happen as we all know, but Cauls have taken a big leap in building on the success of that last EP. Recherché is a compelling web of sound and suggestion fuelled by melodic and harmonic elegance and driven by a climate of rousing and often aggressive atmospheric imagination.
From the short instrumental flight of opener De Novo Quincunx, the quintet of Michael Marwood, Chris McManus, Graham Morris, Douglas Redfern, and Kye Walker entice and involve ears and imagination with increasing creative drama. That first piece is a slow developing mist of sonic calm and darker intrigue, guitars gently entangling as darker hues occasionally moan; it all leading to the instantly kinetic presence of Peace Paean. Around the ever impressing vocals of Marwood, a relative calm while engaging guitar woven tendrils smoulders and builds into a more boisterous roar. Descriptive melodies continue to entice and flame in the rousing breakouts, adding to the bolder fire of the song and its captivating Mars Volta meets Muse like landscape.
The track is pure captivation, sparking a keen intrigue and appetite for what is to follow; that adventure soon in full flight through firstly Radio Johanne / Said Molineux. From its initial low key peace with an alluring tingle of melody, the track also simmers and grows in presence and intensity, building into an unpredictable web of sonic and melodic imagination punctured by the adventurous jabs of McManus’ beats. With at times a resemblance to the raw tenacity of At the Drive In, the song consumes ears with fiery charm and rousing energy before the first part of the three-track Wide Opus Abyss awakens in ears.
Amusia is a secret smog full of suggestive essences and evocative sounds as it blossoms into the corporeal body of Vapours. Rhythms quickly provide a bold spine for its harmonic and sonic flames to erupt and unite around the striking draw of Marwood’s voice and the combined prowess of Redfern and Walker alongside the poetic finesse of Morris’ guitar. It is a resourceful blaze which eventually becomes Tide and Bye, an even more agitated yet controlled melodic clamour sharing Radiohead/ Far like spices in its eventful recipe.
The technical sprightliness of COQ8 dances eagerly in ears before mellowing into a reflective serenade. It is a plaintive cry though carrying its own instinctive tempest, a highly strung excitement bringing fiery exchanges of textures and band around the thoughtful vocal led calms. Its second part, Retentive Anamnesis adds greater volatility to that scorching heart, providing a fibrous sonic weave to its wired atmosphere and pleasure for ears and thoughts.
Épée brings things to a close, strolling in with bass and guitars merging dark and surf rock like hues in its tranquil swing before things bubble and boil around ear captivating vocals. Jazzy and sultry yet melancholic, romancing and seducing with a boldness exploring a diversity of rigour, the track is just mesmeric and another fresh detour in the album’s diverse soundscape.
Cauls are back with a whole new heart to create and a sound which grabs that intent with adventure and beauty, Recherché offering surprises and provocative enticements at every turn. We can only sigh with relief that the band did not buckle to that feeling of bringing things to an end.
Recherché is out now @ https://cauls.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 09/05/2017
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