Cauls – Epoché

It is hard to know what happens to UK outfit Cauls between releases but there seems to be a regular threat of demise around them. That might be over dramatic or not but between the 2012 release of the 2 EP and five years later debut album, Recherché, the band almost came to an end. Now they have returned with Part 1 of a “2 part Prog extravaganza” and again it sees the band rise from another threat to existence and as before with one of the most striking and compelling things from them yet.

It was the departure of vocalist Michael Marwood when he relocated to New Zealand which almost brought the Newcastle upon Tyne band to an end since the release of their acclaimed full-length. Another option considered was going on as an instrumental proposition but it was the discovery of trained soprano Katie Oswell which brought back the spark and inspiration to continue and listening to Epoché we can all be thankful to that unearthing. It is fair to say though with their sound richer, fuller and bolder than ever, the addition of a second guitarist and keyboardist has been just as important to the impressive evolution from the enterprise making Recherché so enjoyable and eagerly praised.

As mentioned Epoché is the first part of the new album with Part 2, Ataraxia, due later this year. The four track encounter is a tapestry of progressive and melodic rock equally embracing an array of other flavours and styles within its inventive walls. Inspirations to the sextet of Chris McManus, Graham Morris, Kye Walker, Michael Anderson, Josh Ingledew, and Oswell include the likes of The Mars Volta and Tool and in some ways both can be suggested without that info by listening to the new release yet it firmly and swiftly sets out the individuality which has increasingly grown across the band’s records.

Bloodlines opens things up and swiftly reveals the new imagination and depth to the band’s mix of alternative and progressive rock. Its gentle and intriguing, almost sinister beginnings evokes attention and anticipation, both increasingly rewarded as Oswell soon reveals her striking presence within the growing web of guitar and keys bred enterprise. Engaging melodies rise from all aspects, the song’s creative tension soon breaking in a vocal and sonic roar just as contagious as the lead to its eruption. The haunting aspect of voice and melody continues to seduce within the more tempestuous landscape uncovered, every moment and turn bringing new adventure and temptation to consider and devour.

It is a superb start to the encounter, fascination already keenly bred and soon as busy as ears with the following and more animated exploits of The Martyr. It’s robust and muscular beginnings though soon ebbs to another melodic calm to radiate seduction and intimation yet that too a mere moment in the mercurial soundscape unveiling before the listener. Oswell is a magnet in its midst, every rising of her lyrical and vocal fire matched by a fervour and fever in sound and the progressive imagination and craft breeding them.

The serenity bringing the following Lilith to the surface is another wrapped in shadow and portentous suggestion, its tranquillity seemingly ill-omened though Oswell soon appeases the threat with her radiance; keys and guitar a similar caress. It is a disquiet which will have its say though and subsequently ignites another restless landscape in just one more song within Epoché which left us enthralled in so many ways.

There is a great challenging aspect to the Cauls writing and sound too which some might take less openly to than others but equally it brings a freshness and drama to their music which hungrily rewards. Even so their new offering is also arguably their most catchy and dare we say at times rock pop friendly with final track, The Saboteur, epitomising that infection. As those before it, it is a tempest of tension and physical agility but often erupts into the catchiest most virulent moments led by the swing of Oswell’s delivery and a flurry of ear grabbing hooks. It ensures a song which from start to finish lures and holds attention with ease and increasing captivation, much as the release itself.

Whatever the challenges Cauls have faced between records, it consistently seems to bring them to a greater state of invention and imagination, Epoché the greatest outcome yet.

Epoché is available now @ https://cauls.bandcamp.com/album/epoch

https://www.facebook.com/Caulsband/

Pete RingMaster 19/05/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Cauls – Recherché

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/

https://www.facebook.com/Caulsband/

Pete RingMaster 09/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright