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Calvin - International Spy Club

  by John Clarkson

published: 23 / 5 / 2003

Calvin - International Spy Club
Label: Baby Tiger
Format: CD


Third EP from Edinburgh band Calvin, which 'shimmers with an epicness that slots a gap between Grandaddy at one level, and Mercury Rev and Coldplay at others'.

Edinburgh-based band Calvin met with critical acclaim when it released its first two EPs ,'Star' and 'Last One to Drop', in quick succession a few months after first forming in 2000 . In the time since then Calvin has never been anything less than busy. It has recorded some as-yet-unreleased tracks for Flat Records in Surrey, and it has augmented its line-up with keyboardist Miles Carter joining regular members Neil Colquhoun (Vocals, Guitar) ; Fraser MacDermid (Guitar) ; Brian Clark (Bass) and Ali Murray (Drums) in the band. Calvin has also formed its own company, Baby Tiger Music, which, as well as serving as a record label, also promotes regular concerts in Edinburgh for bands both on and beyond the local scene. The addition of Carter , and the time that its members have taken out since their last release, have both been good for Calvin, giving it the opportunity to quantify its sound. While the slightly over diverse two previous EPs showed a promising and talented band still trying to find its direction, 'The International Spy Club'. which takes its name from an oblique reference to James Bond on its first track 'Supercar', is a far tighter and more focused affair. Each one of its three tracks shimmers with an epicness that slots a gap between Grandaddy at one level, and Mercury Rev and Coldplay at others. Swirling keyboards : terse, hypnotic guitar lines, crescendoing drums and echoing, ghostly studio effects, each spread across an immaculate, carefully layered and crafted production, all help to create a grandiloquent sound. Colquhoun meanwhile proves himself to be a thoughtful, but also compassionate frontman. "What you refused to dream is where we could have been/What you refused to be is all that I can see" he sings, against a backdrop of rising and falling guitars and keyboards, about a relationship that has turned to dust on the bleak, magnificent 'Supercar'. The subject matter of the other two songs are equally stark. 'Hatcheck Girl', which thrusts Carter's fluttering keyboards to the fore, and features a brief cameo from Clark on tenor horn, tells of an awkward and increasingly precocious romance, played out against the background of a road trip across America. The protagonist on the final number, torch ballad 'Russia', meanwhile dreams of dying for a worthwhile cause, but with his lover having dumped him ("It's just you and me, here in my head"), it quickly becomes apparent that he is trying to over compensate for a complete sense of failure in his life. Fundamentally humane, Calvin have created with their Everyman tales of heartbreak dignity out of loss and loneliness, and with their striking, well-constructed tunes, a sense of beauty in their melancholy. The group is hoping to release its debut album later this year, which will feature some of the tracks from the Flat Records sessions. On the balance of this excellent third EP, it promises very much to be worth the wait.

Track Listing:-
1 Supercar
2 Hatcheck Girl
3 Russia

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