TRIPS, the newest album by long time genre-mixing Long Distance Calling (LDC) is almost here. There’s a clear evolutionary path that LDC is taking: you can linger in the past with some fantastic earlier albums but TRIPS feels as a totally fresh hybrid-album. Whether or not you’re a vocalist fan….. in this album you have to absorb it and listen to the album in a new light: it’s a fantastic combination of 80’s wave, postrock, stoner, progrock and powerrock that breathes different timezones.
LDC marks this album as the most diverse sound-palette they’ve created until now and that’s exactly the case. If you compare it to The Flood Inside, the tracks with vocals in it consists of more power and variety and there’s a nice progression within this album. Opener Getaway feels as a fresh track that’s more related to their 2014 “Nighthawk” release. Synth waves and that always great sounding LDC-style guitar sets the stage for a fresh hearing-experience for LDC veterans: just listen how the track evolves at around the 2:10 minutes mark: I could swear I’m back in my youth watching the awesome 80’s cartoon “COPS” (Bulletproof!). Reconnect is the first track with vocals featuring Petter Carlsen. His vocals are very clear, almost too clear, but with a powerful reach. And yes, ofcourse… the rhythm and build-up of this vocal-heavy track is very different then what you might hope of LDC. Anyway, the relentless drums, the ever-present bass sound and guitar riffs create a very enjoyable track nonetheless.
Rewind slows down the pace with soft vocals and heavy piano strings. After 1:20 minutes the track picks up and in general: it’s a nice track with lots of variety and a cool build-up. The heaviness kicks in with Trauma: a track that reminisces the older LDC. Slightly metal / stonerrock beginning with shredding guitars and pounding drums without losing a certain flow. An instrumental track that takes its time in toning down with lots of minimalist effects after a loud opening, but after a few minutes the track continues in the same vain as the opening: some head-banging sludge with a great lead-guitar tune kicking in. It sets the stage for the fastest track of the new record: Lines. This is the first track they released to the public as a clear statement they shifted their tone a bit. The reaction to this track worked in both ways: haters gonna hate, because damn: it’s an expertly crafted full-force rocksong with lots of energy, speed and boldness. The bridge in this track is a part that any LDC fan can appreciate, the vocals / lyrics do a good job of making this music more accessible (yes, maybe an “ugly” word but the band set this as a clear target).
Fifth track Presence is more of an interlude to catch your breath and prepare the listener for whats to come. Momentum is a fantastic guitar and synths track that connects to the album opener. Fantastic drumming sets the pace for this track and some awesome riffs and licks create a highly enjoyable epic track. The best and most recognizable part starts from the 4 minutes mark and is a testament to the song-writing skills of LDC. Plans is the final vocal-featured track and starts of slow. With a good pair of headphones, it’s almost as if you hear your own heartbeat. At the 3:40 minutes mark the track takes it up a notch where the instrumental part takes over and what started as a weak beginning, the track develops in a true LDC style tune with a grand segment.
When you look at the duration of album-finisher Flux you just know this is going to be good. It’s clocked at 12:36 minutes and starts of highly atmospheric with experimental soundbites. This track is a fantastic fusion of the music-styles mentioned in the first paragraph and features everything that makes LDC a band to love. It’s a very successful marriage of their older stuff like Avoid the Light (At the 5 minutes mark, I could swear I heard a sister / brother of Apparitions!) and the shift to more recent works from i.e. Nighthawk. There’s a fantastic flow in this track and that always great sounding lead guitar is awesome. The spoken words at the end are very atmospheric and it’s a perfect way to finish this album.
So what have we got here? TRIPS is an excellent album that should appeal to a larger crowd. There’s enough for fans to like. TRIPS feels as a daring but natural progression of LDC, more so than The Flood Inside. Like it or not, but for me this album is a damn fine execution to more accessible tunes without losing the essence of their older works. TRIPS is a piece of work that could attract a larger crowd into the Postrock-esque scene that can help the succes of other, smaller bands and that’s, in its own, a huge success. The album comes highly recommended!