‘Euphoric’ — Calva Louise — Album review

‘Euphoric’ is a clever album title. It quickly hints at how you’ll feel after listening to this new Calva Louise record in its entirety. This 13-song supernova is an explosive, exciting collection of total hits, with a supplementary graphic novel and animated film available, both put together by frontwoman Jess Allanic. 

As somebody who studied linguistics, Jess’ choice to sing in both English and her native tongue reinforces how great language is. And, every step of the way, the envelope-pushing instruments from Alizon and Ben back it all up impeccably and seamlessly. 

Die-hard Calva Louise fans will be delighted that the energetic, uptempo ‘Belicoso’, powerfully melodic ‘Trial’ and synth-fuelled ‘POP (urrí)’ have made it into this deluxe-feel collection. They were instant winners when they were first let loose as singles, but they absolutely deserve their places in the album’s limelight, too. 

You’ll also recognise the stellar singles that the band have been slowly releasing prior to the album’s release. That breadcrumb-dropping build-up has only left me wanting more, so they certainly achieved what they set out to, but it’s also job done in the sense that the other tracks that feature are belters, too. ‘Tiranito’ remains a behemoth, with those tantalising slower elements that increase in intensity as the piercing, thumping electronics and riffs launch into action. ‘Other Self’ and ‘The Odds’ were massive teasers as well, with their captivating idiosyncrasies. 

Sometimes, artists deliver albums that are littered with killer singles but otherwise made up of lacklustre tracks to fill the quota. This is so far from the case with Calva Louise — every song, whether previously known or unheard until now, is a diamond. That goes right from the head-bopper of an opener, ‘Free To Be Lost’, to the final, very conceptual ‘Orange Blast’. 

I’m clearly not exploring this album chronologically, but if you go back to ‘Hunting’, it’s a real standout rock track with all the trappings of a classic Calva Louise banger. It’s tinged with all the usual feel-good vibes that you associate with the three-piece’s music, and it demonstrates how creative they are instrumentally. The same can be said of ‘Alcanzar’ and ‘Mafalda’. 

On ‘Ephemeral’, you not only get vocal assistance from their friend Blakeeleven, who joined them on their streamed Scruff of the Neck show a couple of months ago, but there’s an obvious duality to the lyrics. That goes beyond just the traversing of what’s reality and what’s only perception, but physically with both the guest and bilingual vocals.

It can’t go unsaid that Bobby Bentham of Strange Bones mixed and produced this album. His creativity has been noted when talking about their latest release, ‘England Screams’, so it’s no wonder that Calva Louise are blazing past the boundaries on their record as well. I’d say that ‘Euphoric’, the title track, is the prime example of that — you have the zany electronics, thrashing riffs and partially screamed vocal portions, alongside slower notes towards its end. It’s a rollercoaster of a piece that’s had me playing it again and again. 

Overall, there are so many layers to this triumphant addition to Calva Louise’s commanding alt rock catalogue. It’s time I stopped writing and you started listening…

If you only download one track, let it be: THE WHOLE DAMN THING. IT’S GLORIOUS.

Original image via Spotify; Artwork credit: Calva Louise

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