Crimson Static #2
Charlotte, NC, indie rockers Julian Calendar are back with their second of four scheduled ep’s as part of their Crimson Static series. Frontman and lyricist Jeff Jackson (who is also an incredible novelist, amongst other things) reports that rather than release a single long-player, the band decided to split it up into four four-song short plays, as a means to showcase different song styles without it making it look like they’re a band without direction. Part 1 came out in July, #2 in September, and #3 will be unleashed at the start of October, and finally, #4 will drop in early November.
And, indeed, #2 does start off with a whole unprecedented sound, ‘In Your Love’ is a disco-era new wave number that wouldn’t have been out of place in Blondie or the Talkings Heads’ oeuvre. Over top of viciously funky bassline from Scott Thompson and drummer Lee Herrera, a synthesizer plonks along, as Jackson and Hannah Hundley, who shares vocals, play a couple tumbling deeper and deeper into love. There’s an incredible part at around the three minute mark where Herrera essentially plays a drum solo and Thompson’s bass joins and we get this funky little breakdown before the synth and Jackson and Hundley re-appear.
If ‘In Your Love’ is their nod to the late 70s in New York City, the vicious ‘Men Are Canceled’ starts off with sharp guitar riff before the band kicks into another new wave styling as Hundley informs us that men are, indeed, canceled, due to all the reasons you would expect. Then there’s this bridge of guitar, which turns this song from a new wave into the B-52s as Hundley tells him, in no uncertain terms, that ‘I’m not flirting with you.’ She even refers to the SCUM Manifesto (Valeria Solanas is name-checked in the thank yous). This is a great track.
We go from there into the building sound, centred around the cymbals and Hundley’s vocals, half-spoken/half-sung as we move into the ‘Belly of the City.’ Her girl-like vocals are then joined by Jackson, distorted, buried in the mix, as they chant ‘Into the belly of the city.’ Musically, we are still in the late 70s/early 80s here. A slow plodding beat, the bass guitar up in the mix, replacing a guitar lick, and a synth. And, if Hundley and Jackson played a couple falling in love in ‘In Your Love,’ here we are watching a relationship decline and come apart, Hundley informing her partner to ‘take off your clothes/It’s your body I won’t betray.’ Jackson’s character responds, in a distant, detached voice,
I love you, but it’s too late
This romance is past its date
I love you, once last time
Let’s pretend you could be mine.
‘Proundo Rosso’ ends the ep, with the guitar making a re-appearance, in a simple riff ended with tremolo, and Hundley’s vocals entering the mix, and then the song explodes into a rocker, with a towering lead guitar over a grunge-ish rhythm guitar, as the drums crash, bang, and crash, and the bass emerges out of the noise with a line that Peter Hook would be jealous of.
The songs for Crimson Static were all written two or three years ago, and recorded about a a year ago now, but then the band members all got busy, and it took them awhile to mix them. #2 does not have the political attack Julian Calendar gave us on #!, but no matter. This is another killer collection of songs from these oddballs.