Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review: The Latenight Callers - Songs For Stolen Moments

Somewhere, along route 66, in some hole in wall bar only the hardiest of swindlers go to you'll probably find The Latenight Callers playing. They're probably not swindlers themselves, but the style of music they play yearns for the most damaged, but adventurous of lost souls (I also doubt they've played some dive bar along route 66, although if they have, that's pretty cool). They aim for mysteriousness, seducing you with a strangeness only known to David Lynch movies. Or, at least, that's the general theme I got with Songs For Stolen Moments.

Sounding like a mixture of blues, gypsy-rock and rock-n-roll, The Latenight Callers feel like a band entrenched in the world of 'alternative lifestyles'. I'm not saying they try too hard to be different, but there's an unavoidable detection of malice towards normality. Sure, you might be a jackass and say 'Oh yeah? Well what's normal?', but you and I both know there are some things most people aren't too keen on, and these guys feel like the type of act that thrives off that. The whole time listening to this album I felt like I was watching an Ed Wood movie, or watching some basement burlesque show. Again, things a lot of people frown upon, but plenty enjoy. 

"Tourniquets" stood out for me on the album because, while it stays true to the rest of the albums style points, it felt a bit different. It sounds like a long lost Portishead song, thumping along at a methodical trip-hop pace while still adding in gypsy flair. There are a few other tracks on the album that try this approach ("Odessa" and "The Big Sleep"), but they don't blend it together as well as "Tourniquets" does. "The Big Sleep" comes close, and is a decent song in its own right, but doesn't come close to the same majesty.

When not dabbling in electronic themed music, they concentrate on what must be their staple: Gypsy rock. "Sleepless" and "Gypsy Moll" don't really stray off the fun but foreboding path gypsy themed music has come to show us, giving us something very easy to dance to but still feel entranced by. While they might come across as a tad too similar, it's not like they're mirror images of each other, and provide enough personal touches to work.

"Red Bricks, White Ghosts" feels jumbled. At first I thought they were sampling a song by Lady Soul used in the Sister Act soundtrack (I'm so happy I got to add in a Sister Act reference into this review), but it was pretty obvious early on it was just a similar sounding beat. Anyways, what I'm trying to say here is the beat feels way too loud, never really working with what the rest of the song is playing to. It's jarring, and when the majority of their album is kind of quiet in an odd way, it really frightens and bewilders you. "The Tease" also feels lethargic and uninspired, and maybe should have been axed off the album before they decided to print it off.

Songs For Stolen Moments was a surprise for me, mostly because it took me out of my so called 'comfort zone' and managed to cradle me so well to make me feel mostly comfortable and enjoy the ride. Sure, there are the occasional hiccups on the album, but most albums have these as well, and it's nice to be surprised now and again by something you didn't know what to make of in the first place. And that's something I think they strive to do on a daily basis. - Shane

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