Ghosts to Show You
InCalico has been through lineup changes, benefit shows, and, of late, represented Indy Pride. They've been at it for more than three years, but they just released their first full-length album this April. It was worth the wait. InCalico is pop punk at its finest, the kind of stuff that hearkens back to pre-Dookie days, when alternative meant more than that radio station playing the same three songs by Alice in Chains and Radiohead over and over.
Ghosts to Show You opens with the aching anthem "Even Though We Won't," a song that sets the stage for 10 tracks of ringing powerchords, harmonized vocals and snug drums. The title track is a masterpiece of barely-controlled anger, with lead vocalist/guitarist Jasin Wayne's voice hovering over heartbreaking lyrics that (more than) hint at substance abuse and sadness: "I've made a mess of most of myself/I've traded love to worship wine."
The entire album is a bittersweet reckoning of faded youth, shattered love and the disappointment of the day-to-day. Jasin Wayne and Jay Naidoo shred their best, complementing each other with a full, rich sound underlined by punchy bass from Rob Hailey. Alex Bond is a master on drums, hammering on the toms and nailing the crash with precision. His stick-work on "Over and Over," a fast-paced farewell song, is especially smooth. Same for "We Need This Place," an ominous tune that threatens to fall into chaos at the bridge but holds it together for one final verse. My favorite track on the album, "Shattered," features bright, crisp rhythm guitar and rock leads woven around emotional lines that promise "We will be shattered."
Ghosts to Show You is more than strong enough to merit a release with a label like Lookout or Fat Wreck Chords, but the fellas of InCalico did the whole thing in-house. It was recorded, mixed, and produced by their bassist, Rob Hailey, and not a note sounds out of place. Lead singer Jasin Wayne even did the album design and layout, which is nice and haunting.
Good pop punk is hard to find. The days of Teen Idols and Face to Face are over, but if bands like InCalico are the face of what's to come, then I'm ready to bust out my Converse and tight jeans and watch them rock.
Emma Faesi Hudelson