Color / Sweat (Rhyme & Reason)
Reviewed by Reid Jowers, Fri., Aug. 9, 2019
While 2016 breakout Time Owes You Nothing flourished jangled psych, Calliope Musicals' studio debut also bore down on the songwriting. The Best New Austin Band at the 2015-16 Austin Music Awards now strums a little less folk in grafting the heart of South Austin culture onto a hipster aesthetic, with electronic chords and mainstream-defying vibraphone. At first, Color/Sweat sounds like some of the weirder fringe pop brewing locally for the past two decades-plus, especially given frontwoman Carrie Fussell's tendency for theatrics and whooping off-key. Yet beneath the surface bounce some hidden gems. "That's Why We Dance" cuts a rug with ABBA's "Dancing Queen," overlaying electro energy with Craig Finkelstein's vibraphone and exhilarating vocals that contemplate, "You say God made it all / Then who made God?" Other standout tracks include "Whole Without It," which slows down its tempo with soft electric guitar that makes the listener mellow out into a blissful coagulation, and "Golden Clouds." The latter spikes the mood back up with a guitar riff that recalls fellow locals the Butthole Surfers, along with bellowing lyrics that are sure to lodge in your frontal cortex until your government-mandated lobotomy.