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Multi-instrumentalist Giana Caliolo from Long Island is doing invigorating, conscious art rock on “Underneath”, the second full-length album of her recording project Calicoco. After “Float” from 2018, “Underneath” reinforces Calicoco’s fearful lyrics and informal song structures. This is Caliolo – who played in the Rochester bands Secret Pizza and Pony Hand – in their most honest and uncompromising form.
Recorded in Rochester with Stephen Roessner and Phil Shaw and released on September 3rd via Dadstache Records, Underneath shows Caliolo confronting an internal conflict sparked by an intense breakup that led to a time of pain and guilt . “I really had a hard time living with myself,” they say. “I’ve definitely had moments when I didn’t want to be here.”
This feeling comes across immediately in the fiery opener “I Hate Living With Me”, a track that is constantly built up from its marching beat and the harrowing guitar run and introduces the consistent shadow tone of the album. “Strangers” winds into a blurry wall of sound that is as claustrophobic as it is intoxicating, while the haunting title track is raw and direct.
The striking, anthemic “Heal Me” is a full, three-minute exorcism, which is Caliolo’s most personal statement on the nine-part album: “Kill me / Sue me / Hear me / Feel Me / Feed me / Breed / Cure me / Learn me”, sing before quickly escalating to the urgent words, “Just give me a goddamn lobotomy.”
The impotent “Melancholy” is fueled by its catchy mix of pointed post-punk and distorted desert rock. The slowly burning ending “I Was the Devil” is a revised version of the original track that appeared on the 2019 EP “Remnant”. The reinterpreted track swaps the reduced acoustics in favor of shimmering synthesizers that build up to a rousing, heartbreaking finish.
There’s really nothing nice about hearing “Underneath”. The album is an intense, colorful explosion, a chaotic trip down the rabbit hole with Caliolo’s mind – colliding at the beginning, but finally calming at the end.
Joe Massaro is a freelance writer for CITY. Feedback on this article can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.