Callahan - Face the Day
Record Label: None
Release Date: August 18, 2008
It was seventy five degrees Fahrenheit here about a week ago, and it's approaching that today. That's in sharp contrast to the twenty degree weather punctuating the highs, and if there's one thing I can safely affirm this week it's this: Spring is upon us. While Ohio may still be stuck in the back and forth struggle that it plays every year, these sunny, balmy days have apparently convinced my internal ear that it's time to switch from the somber melodies of Manchester Orchestra and Lovedrug to the infectious, summer-y pop anthems that I feel obliged to blast every day that I can safely lower my windows without getting frostbite. My favorites are still going to come into play of course, but it's looking like there's another early contender for that honor in Callahan's Face the Day EP.
Apparently, Callahan isn't actually too far down the road from me. Originating in Springfield, Ohio, they've made a name for themselves in the local area (I'd heard of them at least) and self-released two EPs. The second of the two, Face the Day, is a fairly standard pop-rock approach, encompassing auto-tuned vocals and downplayed instrumentation in exchange for catchy hooks and melodies. The instrumentation isn't completely bust, however, and though they never really stray too far from the normal pop-rock instrumentation, they at least hold their own at it. Their lyrics are, well, pop-rock lyrics. You catch gems like: "Hey boy what's your problem?/ With those hips she could solve them/ Her eyes giving you the notion/ going through the motions, lacking all devotion." They're not bad for this sort of band by any means, and some of their lines are pretty well thought out, but if you don't like singing about girls/boys/relationships/fun then you're definitely not going to be feeling their choice of topics.
If there's one thing Callahan does completely right, it's writing an intro. For example, the aforementioned lines from "Dress to Impress," as well as the intros to the songs "When Morning Comes" and "This One's For the History Books" all encompass some seriously infectious vocal hooks. The beginning of "When Morning Comes" is quite impressive. After an escalation you hear the vocals kick in with a "There she stands pretty dainty in pose!" before breaking into the catchy first verse. Of course, the songs don't completely hinge on the band's ability to write some catchy first-listen hooks. My favorite song from the album "Love Stories Don't Have Endings" actually starts out slower than the rest, but it's a driven track, and though the lyrics may be cheesy I kind of like them. The most notable part of this song, however, is the appearance of Jason Lancaster (Go Radio) in the closing minutes of the album, showing off one of the darling guest appearances I've missed from him since his departure from Mayday Parade.
Though Callahan may veer towards the cheesy and somewhat cliche at times, I'm rather impressed with the band's ingenuity. If you're tired of autotuned vocals and over-the-top youthful exuberance then you'll be a bit turned off by this EP, but if you're not fed up with the trend, Callahan could quite possibly find a place on your Summer '09 playlists.