The is a vulnerability when listening to The Wave Show by Lus Sangules aka John Caldwell. There is something so pure about his delivery even though the recording quality isn’t great (or really isn’t even good) and the songs are often off time that is endearing. It’s like he is saying take or leave it but this is me with no protective coat. There are some inspired moments on the Wave Show and other moments that don’t pan out so well.
Caldwell starts off with 'Why Not Here?' which is one of the best songs and also contains a decent recording. The song which contains banjo, loose percussive elements and possible a piccolo sounds like it can fall apart at any moment in which it often does. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was recorded in one take because it sounds largely improvised. Caldwell sings about the existential curiosity of being from a particular location. He sings, “When the silliness of borders no longer obscures the gradient of everything human Your feet my stop somewhere and you may ask a simple question: 'Why not here?'.”
Things get a bit too sloppy for my liking on tracks like “The Thought of Going” and “A Song from the Beach at Corpus Christi, Tx”. The sloppiness gets out of control on “The Mind of An Old, Fading Adventurer” but it gets so wacky and experimental that the song is enjoyable. That being said the drone like organ that quickly faded in and out gave me a case of vertigo.
The drums and are loud and obnoxious on “The Thought of Staying” as is the dissonant guitar chords. “Northern California” contains some emotional resonance none of the previous songs had. I was vaguely reminded of a fantastic band called Shalabi Effect. There is a stillness and tranquility that none of the other songs possessed. “To the Ones You Meet Out There” is a fairly straightforward song revolving around acoustic guitar, horns and flaying vocals while “Always Serious” is a solid yet off kilter track. He inject dissonant sounds that felt unnecessary. The highlight of the album was the last song “Something Was Missing.” He displays some decent skills on the banjo.
Caldwell will definitely need to do some work in a number of areas if he hopes to make this music thing anymore then then a hobby. I don’t mind lo-fi recording when used properly but the mixes range from harsh to striking on some of these songs. I like the sloppy, falling apart vibe he has going for it but some of it sounds like just that and not in a cool, artistic way like that of a band like US Maple. Caldwell is a couple degrees off from being prolific. He might have it in him with future releases.
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