They Call Me Cal by Casual Cal starts out with the song Dirty Mind. The loping guitar riffs and playful drums make way for aetheric vocals and straight away, it becomes obvious why the group is called Casual Cal. With hints of phrases poking out of the heavily indie influenced “country” music, the listener is both calmed and energized by Cal’s delivery.
The next track “Takes A Second” concretes the notion that this “country” album has deep indie roots. In fact, the album was mixed and mastered by none other than Jonathan James of the world renowned band (and Springfield natives) Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. With fun guitar melodies and a BIG sound, this song is a great second track for the 5 song EP.
Track Three takes us even further on our Indie/Country journey with goosebump inducing chord changes and fun melodies. It’s descending progressions and minor chords give the listener the complex feelings of both being fun and …as Cal would call it…Casual.
The fourth song Hard To Find (The Rest of My Life) appears to be the most country inspired song on the album …up until this point. With Addie McKenzie on fiddle juxtaposed with that big “Casual Cal” sound from the layered/reverb vocals, the song makes you want to waltz with a bottle of your favorite brown party liquor or beer.
Casual Cal goes all-in with the country stylings for the fifth and last song of this EP. In I’ll Stay Out Too, most of the indie inspirations present in the previous four songs give way to a solid country sound that will have the most staunch classic country fans convinced. With a beautiful arrangement, big (yet still Casual AF) lyrical delivery, and classic country drumming, this song is the most fiddle forward on the album.
On the whole, They Call Me Cal by Casual Cal is not simply a country album. It is not ONLY an Indie album. Instead, it marries the two styles in the most tasteful way. Giving a classic aesthetic to some of the most tried and true songwriting elements. From a listener’s standpoint, the songs on this album had me feeling a lot of emotions. Sometimes, those emotions almost seemed to conflict, which honestly made me believe it more. The songs feel genuine and not forced like a lot of modern music tends to be. I give this album 4 Cowboy Hats.
Listen for yourself here: