Review: Callow – Blue Spells
National Music Reviews
Callow = Low + Lou Reed
Ever wondered what the tortured and slowcore-laden doppelganger of Adam Stephens (from Two Gallants) would sound like? Because if you soak his vocal styling in melancholy and swaddle it with goth rock underlays, you’d have the fundamental fixings for Callow. At the beginning of Blue Spells, “Stop Breathing” is a downtrodden ode that serves as emotional foreshadowing for the rest of the album.
It is beautiful yet dangerously gloomy, with slow jams entombed underneath ominous piano chords and haunting vocal harmonizing, which will lure comparisons with Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker (of Low) on C’mon. The overly mesmerizing disposition of Blue Spells won’t sober up lovesick music listeners like garden-variety pop songs would, but serves more as a “hair-of-the-dog” cure and further inebriates them via beautiful minimalistic slowcore. It’s relieving to hear a rock band coming out of San Francisco that separates itself from the pretentious rock herd. –Gregory Gerulat
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