Capsule reviews of recently released EPs, LPs & DVDs

ANNA CALVI One Breath (Domino)

There is a melodramatic quality about Calvi’s operatic indie rock that suggests an affinity for Jeff Buckley and PJ Harvey. Epic in musical scope and emotional in lyrical depth, this sophomore effort finds Calvi stretching out her musical range to embrace obtuse angular moments that reveal a strong experimental leaning in songs like “Piece By Piece”. But overall, it is the kind of pleasing arch art-rock (“Suddenly” and “Eliza”) that the kids will go gaga for.

VINTAGE QUIXOTIC Hollywood Babylon EP (Self-released)

An intriguing concept – songs about Hollywood with references to Rudolph Valentino, Audrey Hepburn and Bela Lugosi – that could have been executed better in terms of lyrics and music. The title track is competent enough with its reliance on 70s pop-rock structures but the rest of the EP is quite up to par. “Valentino” contains a trite melody that guest singer Cesili Williams really struggles with. “My Fair Audrey” is comfortable soft-rock, “A Song for Helen” is unremarkable on all counts but Bela Lugosi’s appropriate sinister tone somewhat elevates the EP into mock-Metallica territory. Hard to tell whether the EP is to be taken seriously or tongue-in-cheek. Hit or miss, I’m afraid.

Shades in Grey

SHADES IN GREY I Can Tell You EP (Self-released)

Roman Tassarov – Russian expat – has been actively involved in the Singapore music scene as a guitarist of Firebrands and more recently, I Hate This Place. Shades in Grey is Tassarov’s solo project, and with a little help from his friends, has produced a 4-track EP that fans of 80s/90s guitar pop-rock will enjoy. The opening two tracks – “All In My Mind” and “I Can Tell You” – gives you a good idea of where Tassarov is coming from: melodic hooks and impeccable technical ability with a rock edge. “Hold Me Now” is a nod towards neo-prog rock that fans of Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree will appreciate. Now available on iTunes.

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