While opening for The Walkmen in Seattle, Father John Misty front-man J. Tillman informed the crowd of their headliner’s arrival. “Just a little bit longer my beautiful babies and then The Walkmen are gonna come up here and crush you with gentlemanliness.” Hearing this, I couldn’t help but think of Houston’s newest rock band – The Caldwell.
While they may be new to your ears, like any gentlemen, The Caldwell are an experienced group of musicians, whose collective pedigree includes Deep Cuts, Adam Bricks, Marry Me, and of course the gone-but-not-forgotten Houston post-rock group B. (seriously, remember how good they were?). Despite coming from different backgrounds, both musical and cultural, the band plays to their similar influences; The Beatles, Buddy Holly, Harry Nillson, and Tom Waits to name a few. But if Josh Alan’s artwork for the group is any indication of the band’s songwriting, it’s that they tackle persona, that is, the fracturedness of someone trying to be the best they can be.
Take “Modern Love” for instance. It’s a song about heartbreak, uncertainty, a cry for help dressed as a refined pop gem with infectious guitar melodies, lush keyboard, and a mannerly rhythm section. But try as he might, singer James Essary can’t keep his composure in the song’s elevated chorus, screaming “I can’t see you and me!” He does so only to shrug his shoulders and finish the line with one last breath – “…ever talking this over…” – as the band plays him out.
The Caldwell aren’t afraid of pulling up their sleeves and play the hell out of a their instruments either. In fact, the band isn’t afraid of much, as evidenced by their new single “So Many Things”. The track swiftly goes from head-bobbing piano diddy to full on powerhouse of guitar and drums. Lyrically, the song serves as a man-them for loneliness while giving fair warning for potential love interests – “I can be your man…but the man that you see isn’t me.” “So Many Things” is a darker, mature, more self-aware look at being care-free, freeing the idea “reckless abandon” of all the noisy implications and abstractions given to by “Y.O.L.O.” TL;DR It’s a smart song by a smart band.
Our city has a lot to look forward to from this band of brothers. Lady Houston, who’s only known the crustiest of punks, the sweatiest of headbangers, and the most screwed-up of hustlers will finally have a few gentlemen in her life with The Caldwell.
– Alex Segura