NEW ALBUM- songs for the years gone by
Album Review - "songs for the years gone by" - by Glenn Jeffers
The joy of listening to “songs for the years gone by,” the debut album from Chicago-based The Band Calderisi, comes not from recognizing the era and groups it borrows from, but from the way frontman Anthony Calderisi and drummer Chris Costello play with those tropes to deliver something that’s equal parts intriguing and alluring.
It’s like rummaging through your local record shop and finding some pet project a la “Lucy Pearl,” but featuring Johnny Reznick, Jacob Dylan, a couple guys from Foo Fighters and some newly-discovered studio session with Liam Gallagher. You know their music and their predilections. Maybe you recognize a chord progression or two. But it also moves in some unexpected ways and, man, is the production legit.
That’s what springs to mind after listening to “songs,” an 11-track homage to the late nineties/early aughts’ alt-rock scene that zigs and zags at the right moments, be it a major-minor change that sends a power chorus into deep introspection or a stripped-down father’s prayer for their child, showing a maturity the genre rarely mustered in its day.
Ever present, however, is a professional level of production, a master class in building sound that ebbs, flows, raises and crashes with precision and intent. It’s a credit to Calderisi — a longtime Chicago musician with a great ear for the work — and bandmate/friend Costello (drums). The duo have played with one another in several bands spanning 20-plus years, and developing a connection comes in handy when one says to the other, “Hey, I’ve got some song ideas.” Imagine if George asked Ringo to help out on a concept album. You get the idea.
That familiarity in songwriting guides the thunderclap that is the album’s first half. “Words” and “All In” are all about building every note and beat into a latticework of powerful swells. This is skillful musicians rocking out. Play on.
But the album blossoms when two things happen: 1) the production chills for a minute and 2) the band unleashes its secret weapon, Calderisi’s voice. Singing lead vocals throughout, you become comfortable with Calderisi’s tenor and its surprising range, whether it’s a smooth and easy register on tracks like “Something Someone,” or reaching Steve Perry-esque histrionics on “All In” and “Words.”
And then you get to “Bayou.”
Bayou is a stripped-down gem of a song, light in tone, simple in orchestration, somber in its tale of a parent watching their child leave home and enter the world without them. A slide guitar gives it a homey feel, and the drums and guitar provide form to the song, but they all come second to Calderisi’s vocals, a skillful instrument itself. It’s at once lithe and full, aching in its cries to protect, almost reaching alto in a breezy effort. It’s an a cappella that someone built background music around. Think Cassandra Wilson with an orchestra. It’s that special.
The same can be said on “The Suffering.” Calderisi’s voice dictates the song while the music plays catch-up. And in both lyrics and arrangement, the song evokes the best of Paul Simon. Masterful storytelling that feels like something you’d hear in a coffeehouse set, but only in a place that sells artisan beans.
The album’s second half turns hard into the nineties’ alt-band nostalgia, with songs that feel like they belong in the end credits of “Can't Hardly Wait.” Listen to “Nothing Left to Say” and “Reasons” and you can almost see the model-esque teens walking through some suburban Hamlet’s downtown at sunrise. They’re also gorgeous classic rock anthems that, given the tone and influence, make sense.
And that’s what you get with the album’s last number, the cheeky-titled “Here Comes Your Last Song.” Snarky, fun and booming, it caps off an impressive debut from Calderisi. He knows where he came from and has the chops to pull it off … and then some.
Author- G. Jeffers
Anthony's Original Music
Having been a songwriter since his teens, Anthony Calderisi has been collaborating with some of Chicago's best as songwriter, performing singer and guitarist as well as producing at his home studio. His work with Telstar honed his skills as a pop rock songwriter, with sweet vocal melodies and powerful guitar hooks. His latest effort set for release is a collection of his own songs performing under the name The Band Calderisi. The album features songs written over the last 10 years or so recollecting some of his most joyful and memories as well as witness to sadness and pain of the world around him. The title of the album, Songs for the Years Gone By, is available to download through the site as well as purchase on iTunes or stream on Spotify.