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Braille Review

by Charles Spano

Though the spoken lyrics that kick off Braille on "Detroit Girl" might have some listeners expecting Shawn Mullins' "Lullaby," the track is actually much closer to early Beck -- just check the clap- and singalong that concludes the song. But Calliope is really psychedelic, galactic folk when it comes down to it, and they prove it with meandering acoustic guitars and lyrics that are slightly out of this world. "Love=Energy" would be a better choice to start the album. Andy Dryer sings, "why don't robots rule the Earth/why don't the apes just take it back?/I'll hide with the Sasquatch in a cave/when the UFOs attack." This mellow and quirky dream pop is much more original than "Detroit Girl" and better characterizes the band. And Calliope is a truly unique band -- songs like "Bumblebee" and "Peppercorn," where the group is at their best, alternate between jazzy guitar, horns, and vibes, and all-out space rock. "Newscast" pulls out all the stops, carrying the band into the realms of post-rock and trippy IDM. The record ends with "Take My Body Home," a mesmerizing slowcore tune with beats reminiscent of the Icelandic band Múm -- it's a song that illustrates Calliope's greatest strength: combining influences such as jazz, indie rock, electronica, post rock, and shoegazer into something new and exciting.

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