Secret Meeting score: 80
by Philip Moss
Having moved to Seattle to write his debut full length, the Texas native – Caleb Campbell aka Ari Roar – is the latest in a long line of great artists to join the roster at Bella Union.
Following his 2016 Bandcamp EP, Patch Me Up, Calm Down opens with its title track – a hazy blur of chugging, lo-fi guitars straight off Grandaddy’s Under The Western Freeway, and Plastic Ono Band-era inspired melodies: ‘I tried to see the milky way… I need a better place to hide away, you have to show me how to stay up late.’ And it’s this blend of understated, Beatles-esque, stargazing moments that makes this album of miniatures so special.
Lead single, Implode, carries a dreamy melancholy as Roar – in his best falsetto – drifts through the lonely, self doubting days as a newly single man. ‘I wonder if I embody your type?’ he questions following one too many first dates.
After his work on Frankie Cosmos’ new album, Vessel, producer, Hunter Davidsohn is getting a reputation for producing tight pop records, and this is no exception. Called In says all it needs to say in one minute and ten seconds – with its mix of toy keyboards and bubblegum melodies, Lost and Found’s sugary, doubled vocals tell the tale of a missing ‘shaggy dog’, while Windowsill and Feeding out The Slack would fit perfectly onto Mac DeMarco’s last LP.
Whizzing through fifteen songs in under half an hour really is some going. But what’s even more impressive is how wonderfully crafted this debut album of short, but sweet poptastic tunes is. Plus, it’s safe to say, Calm Down is absolutely perfect for the long summer days that are, hopefully, on their way.
Like the sound of Ari? Check out our live review of him here.