5 Overdue British Telecom Bills out of
Well, it's a 2-color print job of a guitar
being played, and looks one step above a demo. The London Calling logo
is nice and big so it does stand out, but the whole thing looks really
low-budget while being kind of retro at the same time. The "In Stereo"
label at the top made me laugh for a few seconds when I first saw it.
(Thank Christ it's not in mono!) Sort of gives it a late 60's Brit-pop
kind of vibe. Hey, wasn't "London Calling" the name of a Clash
album? I'm confusing genres. I need a drink. So, overall, not a great
CD cover, but not completely terrible either. We've seen lots worse from
larger budget productions.
International Calling Cards out of 10
Jeepers, it's not even a booklet! Just an insert card. Cheap, cheap,
cheap. No color, no band photos, no lyrics, zilch, zip, nada. Just tracking
and basic production notes on the flipside of the panel. Oh yeah, there's
some line art of a little robot guy. Cute. So why does this packaging
deserve a 10/10 rating? Take out the CD and look at the back of the
traycard. That's where London Calling stuck their thank-you list, making
creative use of space and giving special thanks to "the folks at
Metal Sludge." You're welcome, London Calling. Thank you for remembering
us. Bands take note: that's all it takes to get a perfect booklet score!
Don't forget to give props to the Sludge.
Transoceanic Phone Cables out of 10
If you didn't already know, London Calling
is fronted by former Guardian-AdrianGale vocalist / 20 Questions victim
/ low-carb dieter / self-proclaimed Jesus freak and hard-core Sludgeaholic
Jamie Rowe, who once auditioned for Ratt and had a feud with the Blue
Meanie (though not at the same time). However, Jamie is probably best
known for his vocal work on the international mega-hit "7-11 (Isn't
Too Far Away)," voted 'best song of the year" in the 2001
Sludgeaholic Choice Awards. Naturally, "7-11" is a hard act
to follow, but Jamie pulls it off with his new band London Calling.
The CD begins with the Seinfeld-esque "Song About Nothing,"
which totally sets the tone for the whole album, a collection of power-pop
tunes that are fun, melodic, guitar-driven catchy songs. Kind of in
the same vein as 40 Ft. Ringo, Mars Electric, Butch Walker, etc., with
just a hint of 60's Brit-Pop undertones (a correlation with the cover
art, perhaps). Heck, there's even one cover song -- Cheap Trick's "Just
Got Back." You don't get much more power-pop than that! If you
were expecting Christian hard rock ala Guardian or Stryper, you may
be in for a letdown as the songs don't have any overtly noticeable religious
overtones. That doesn't mean Jamie sings about drawing pentagrams and
drinking goat's blood; rather, the lyrics all have a positive slant.
I believe bands like P.O.D. and Creed are now termed "inspirational,"
but don't let that bother you. Regardless of what belief structure inspired
these songs, it all boils down to the fact that London Calling has recorded,
plain and simply, some really good music. Check out the songs "Haunting
Me," "Supernatural Girl," "Wonderland" -- for
that matter, check out the whole album. There's some comedy in the tracking
-- fooling around in the studio and whatnot, including drummer Derek
D. Sorrells doing lead vocals on what sounds like an ad-lib acoustic
performance called "Country Girl." It confused me until I
started laughing, and then it was all good. What's truly impressive
is that the entire CD was recorded in a little studio in southern Indiana
in just 4 days. These songs are as good, if not better, than most of
the stuff being played on modern rock radio these days ("You Make
My World Go Round" gives Train's "Drops of Jupiter" a
run for its money, IMO). Perhaps that's why it's reported that London
Calling has been attracting some tangible big-label interest. Good.
With songs like this, they deserve it.
guys are all Sludgeaholics (London Calling have opened an MSX show and
played at our Metal Sludge Extravaganza #7), so by all means, show them
some love. In all honesty, this is absolutely one of my favorite CDs
from all of 2003. Seriously. The songs would've gotten a 10/10 rating,
but that wouldn't leave London Calling with anything left to aspire
to, now would it? Well this review has become more long-winded than
a Chip Z'Nuff interview, but I can't say enough good things about 'The
New Sensation,' so deal with it.