Published Jul 06, 2016BEND, the latest release from Canadian Alex Calder, is a cassette collection of home recordings that Calder made following his split from Makeout Videotape and prior to his 2015 LP debut Strange Dreams. The 15-song collection provides interesting insight into the evolution of Calder's idiosyncratic, reverb-driven sound from what it was on his EP The Time to what it is now.
Unfortunately, it doesn't bring anything entirely new to the table. There are tracks on which it's clear that Calder was experimenting with a sound or a riff, but the song barely grows beyond a static guitar melody, as in the repetitive droning of "Sasaki." By contrast, songs like "Dealing With The Sun," "Fade" and album single "Shaking My Years Away" are all fully realized efforts with clearly delineated movements and pop elements that were interestingly missing from his debut LP, but those examples aside, consistency is the missing ingredient on BEND.
BEND ends well, however, with the stripped-down early demo version of Strange Dreams' concluding track "Someone." The raw version is a treat for Calder aficionados, charting the development of a song from home recording to studio-produced cut. So while this may not be the best starting point for anyone new to Calder's repertoire, his established fan base should enjoy what it has to offer. (Captured Tracks)