Long Distance Calling seem to journey further into Mogwai territory with each release. Half of this self-titled effort's tracks could easily be mistaken for said post-rock gods. The other half recall late-'90s grunge-metal crossover acts mostly sans vocals. And even the post-rock-leaning songs feature snippets here and there of the slightly less cool metal elements. It's clear throughout that the guys are fans of many genres.The rumbling bass, tribal drums, and bright shards of guitar of "Into the Black Wide Open" and "Beyond the Void" are a good example of group's post-rock jones. Think Explosions in the Sky. "The Figrin D'an Boogie," "Arecibo," and "Middleville" are decidedly grunge-metal-oriented and wouldn't seem out of place on a '90s Seattle compilation, as wailing guitar solos and chugging biker grooves make for dated listening. "Timebends," on the other hand, reveals a progressive heart, wearing its Pink Floyd's Live at Pompeii influence proudly on its sleeve. Armored Saint's John Bush provides the album's sole vocals on "Middleville," and his voice is a jarring intrusion that breaks the record's internalized vibes. Long Distance Calling tries to be all things to all people, and the disparate genres and styles work as poorly together in practice as they read on paper. It suggests a band with an identity crisis not planning or coming to terms with a plan before jamming in the studio. It's a release full of solid playing and strong dynamics, but it's unlikely to work as a whole for most listeners.
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AllMusic Review by Tim DiGravina