Album review: Caylon EP

By Matthew Prudham

Caylon, Durham’s freshest band with a sound merging progressive rock, alternative rock, blues, released their debut self-titled EP this month. The four tracks each differ slightly in sound, showing not only the great promise that the band yield, but also how greatly developed their sense of ensemble and song-writing ability has become, after only forming last year.

‘Zerosyne Affinity’, the first track, is somewhat akin to a crossover between the near-operatic choruses of Queen and Van Halen, mixed with the guitar riffs typical of The 1975 and Circa Waves, but this seriously downplays the innovative ideas Caylon have put in. The final minute of the track starts off with a momentous drum solo, courtesy of drummer Nathan Roberts, which then leads into a jazz-esque jam, before giving way to a final repeat of the chorus before the ending on a very satisfying fade-out.

‘Take Your Leave’ is definitely the track during which Caylon want arms up in the air.

The following track, ‘Take Your Leave’, echoes the era of classic rock even more strongly as a piano ballad. This allows the talent of the lead vocalist, Richie Johnson, to properly shine through, with his tone here reminiscent of Mercury, Waters, and McCartney. The piano playing itself is beautiful, shining through the vocals, with its arpeggiated chords and flowing treble melody adding to the feel of this track being Caylon’s ‘break-up song’. This atmosphere is boosted even more with the addition of backing vocals in thirds, and slow-paced drums about halfway through the song. The song ends, after the lead guitar is added in to drive home this emotional atmosphere, with an exquisite choral ending, evocative of the works of composers such as Vaughn Williams and Fauré. ‘Take Your Leave’ is definitely the track during which Caylon want arms up in the air.

Overall, Caylon’s debut EP successfully marks the band out as the most innovative musical export from Durham.

Third track ‘Bernice’ once again is contrasting to its preceding number, with Caylon this time revealing their inner alternative rock spirit, with an added blues twist. The solid basslines from Nathanial Jones are crucial here for keeping the whole unit together, whilst Richie Johnson on vocals and rhythm guitar and Tom Katon on lead guitar can take the centre stage. The choruses moreover reveal Richie’s Rockstar potential, and demonstrates that he can use both his more classical tone, which, just like on ‘Take Your Leave, and his rock tone together to make a fantastic overall sound through the application of call and response melodies and multi-layered choruses.

My advice is to go and watch the band before they inevitably blow up

The EP ends with ‘Go On’, the shortest track on the record, but it still manages to reveal another side to Caylon’s musical talent. Starting as an acoustic guitar ballad, echoing current artists such as Jake Bugg and Tom Odell, there is, after this, an extensive lead guitar solo midway through which then leads into the final segment of the track. This part features the multi-layered harmonies prevalent throughout the EP, and fittingly, after the love-filled angst featured in the previous two tracks ends the EP in a relaxed, calm manner.

Overall, Caylon’s debut EP successfully marks the band out as the most innovative musical export from Durham. The band have already played gigs around the North-East, in Newcastle and Durham, and are set to make their debut in Sunderland on the 8th December at The Independent, following an appearance at the Chad’s Hope Ball two days earlier. My advice is to go and watch the band before they inevitably blow up since they, as seen from this EP, have the potential and the drive to go and become the next big thing from the North East.

Photograph: Caylon

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