Callière – Freefall Into Heaven

Callière is a name I was very familiar with. After collaborating with my friends in The Churchill Garden and Echodrone’s Jackie Kasbohm things had gone a bit quiet. I needn’t have worried as Andrew Rose has returned with a full-length album no less! This time he is stepping away from the collaborations of the past and giving us a truly solo album called Freefall Into Heaven. To find out more about the project I asked Andrew to tell us a little bit about himself.

“Callière is a musical project I began as a teenager back in 1984, an umbrella name for solo and collaborative work that became somewhat side-lined when I joined the BBC as a radio sound engineer and studio manager in 1990 – just in time for the shoegaze revolution and my chance to meet and work alongside many of  the great UK bands of the initial flowering of shoegaze – Slowdive, Ride, Chapterhouse, Lush, The Telescopes and loads more – many acquaintances that have been renewed in recent years.”  

“Having bought a guitar from 93MMFTS’s Nick Noble a few years ago and been gifted the Vox amp used by Christian Savill for Slowdive’s first reunion gigs, I finally returned to serious songwriting and recording at the end of 2021, inspired by the Beatles Let It Be documentary to just pick the guitar up and get on with it…”

With that pedigree and influence I can’t wait to dive in.

The album opens with the short and sweet ‘Milton Cross’. An ode to the radio announcer who’s voice ushers us in over some of the tones and textures we will hear later on the album.

This leads into the pounding intro to lead single ‘Hollow’. It’s a battle, a push and pull between the light of the chorus and the darkness in the verses. There’s a real sense of tension in those verses which just explodes into the chorus where we soar heavenward. The feeling of joy is palpable and you can’t help but be swept up in this songs uplifting second half. If you are anything like me this song will soon become an obsession.

The aptly named title track follows and you do feel like you are falling into this song. The gentile, lyrical lilt Rose employs is both soothing and utterly engaging. The soundtrack to this song is both glacial and heavenly. The synth parts in particular are really affecting, cutting through the mix like icicles in the snow. It’s a beautiful ballad in the key of bliss major.

Next up is ‘Reminiscence’, opening on some quite warm ambient guitar tones. These are contrasted against the steel like chime of the synth pads. Rose this time creates an almost woodland feel with his choice of percussion. Sounding like a mix of drums and wood blocks playing an other worldly waltz. It really makes this song stand out and, as a listener, you sit up and really pay attention.

We’re shook from our reverie nest though. Rose goes proto punk on us with the spiky delivery of ‘Foreign Land’. Whilst we feel we are now listening to a different artist altogether Rose makes a very clever move. Halfway in he reminds us this is Callière with an instrumental break using some dreamy tones before returning to the pacy final verse.

The tempo comes way down on ‘The Artist Sits Alone’. His Gallic surroundings seep into every corner of this song. Close your eyes and you see this being performed in the dark below a mirror ball. The glittery light embodied in every note of that sumptuous guitar line.

We are treated to a spacious instrumental next named for the band itself. ‘Callière’ features a gently strummed acoustic guitar playing flamenco style chords over an ambient backing of tonal synth and heavily reverbed guitars. This feels like floating and falling at the same time. Utterly beguiling.

This segues neatly into more traditional rock stylings of ‘Another Sunset’. Again, Rose employs a steady ambient drone as backing here but this time his vocal is very much front and centre. Voice and drums lead the melody of this song foiled by the wash of synths and strings. It’s a really effective device and makes this sound like a futuristic English folk song for an intergalactic audience.

The voice of Milton Cross returns for ‘Radio City’. A final tone poem that bookends the original songs of this album in fine fashion.

To close the album Rose has an extra special treat for us. I’ll let him explain.

“One song sits slightly apart from the rest: the final song, ‘To See You Smile’, is a cover of a song recorded by Even As We Speak for their 1993 Sarah Records album, ‘Feral Pop Frenzy’. Here it begins as a string-quartet-accompanied duet between the original EAWS singer, Mary Wyer and myself that gradually builds in speed and volume, with new harmonies from Mary, until exploding into a second half of increasingly incoherent shoegaze guitar noise, incorporating fx-distorted guitar solos from the 1993 original, and resolving – A Day in The Life-like – into simple hanging guitar reverb tones. (I’m pleased to say this was recorded with the full approval of Even As We Speak and the song’s original writer and guitarist, Matt Love.)”

It really is quite an extraordinary track and a wonderful way to close out the album. The interplay between Rose and Wyer is perfect, their voices harmonising effortlessly. That grand cacophony of an outro sending us off in fine fashion.

Freefall Into Heaven is a stunning journey of an album. With Rose nodding at his myriad influences throughout, never mimicking, always reinventing and sculpting those tones into the patchwork thread of Callière. This is especially evident on the closing cover version as he stretches those collaborative muscles that he knows so well. This is an album you will return to time and again, each time finding something new, a texture or sound you missed last listen. That to me is the sign of a future classic.

Freefall Into Heaven is released on April 7th 2023 and will be available over on the Callière Bandcamp page.

You can follow Callière on social media here…

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