Callers - Life Of Love
Callers are something of an unknown quantity - even after the first listen. The trio’s second album is a shifting, mysterious and off-kilter mixture of so many influences that it’s hard to keep track of them; Life Of Love bears the hallmarks of trained jazz musicians playing post-everything rock that confounds the listener's expectations. The overall effect is akin to PJ Harvey channelling Fairport Convention, with a live band of seasoned experimentalists. Sara Lucas’ distinctive vocals are at turns soulful, seductive and wailing, never going the easy or familiar route. Much of Callers’ music is unsettling: irregular beats and vague sounds keep up the suspense as on ‘Bloodless Ties’ or opener ‘You Are An Arc’. ‘Glow’ is a little mournful but also boasts backing vocals that build into what appears to be a haunting male choir. There’s even a cover here of 'Heartbeat', the 1978 track from post-punk band Wire, which unfortunately loses much of the mesmerising tension of the original. ‘How You Hold Your Arms’ is the most straightforward song, but it’s where the attention begins to wander as it strays a little into coffee table territory. It is when Callers are pushing the listener that they are at their most captivating, challenging and, ultimately, enjoyable.