There are a few things I look for when I’m looking for new music. The first is female vocals. While male vocals are fine, I always prefer female. The second thing is the rock feel. After all, what is music without guitars and drums? Most important, there needs to be passion. Preferably anger. Alexx Calise delivers on all points. Despite being a hybrid of hard rock and electronica, her music seems to transcend genre borders. While listening to her first album, “Morning Pill”, I was surprised that at times I was reminded of Tracy Bonham, K’s Choice, Alanis Morissette, and even Vanessa Carlton. Her voice doesn’t sound out of place whether the music is low tempo or rocking. This is a good thing.
“In Avanti”, her recently released album, is a hard rock album that occasionally takes a break for something more heartfelt. “Anything Goes” brings you into AC’s world, complete with electronic background noise, light drums, and lyrics promoting hedonism. The next song, “Break Me” hits with significantly more passion and anger. It’s also much harder. Hard hitting drums and a powerful guitar combine with vocals that create a song that makes me glad I’m not whatever boyfriend this song is about. An immediate switch comes with “Cry”. The song is sad and slow, as it should be.
Following “Cry”, we have “Get Used to It” which is another hard rock song. But, this one is different, and might be my favorite on the album. Everything just seems to work together to make for something special. Next, we have “Good Enough”. The lyrics are typical of any relationship song. “It doesn’t matter what I do, cause everything’s always been about you. Nothing’s ever good enough for you.” Boring, right? Not quite. The instrumentation wins and makes you forget about the lyrics, bringing you into a world of anger and resentment that I just adore. It’s followed by “My Song” which could almost certainly be a dance hit.
After this, we get another stylistic shift. “Out of Sight” reminds me of a thousand other songs where women are whining about a broken relationship, except that it still has the hard rock influence. I’m not sure if that makes it awesome or not. It might. “Saying Goodbye” might also be a song about relationships, but you’d never be able to tell since it’s so hardcore it might as well be metal. The album ends with “See You Again”, which is actually a low tempo slow song, devoid of any hard rock influence. It’s not bad.
I think the only problem I have with this album is that it feels too safe. It’s music that you feel like you’ve heard before. There was nothing that made me instantly fall in love and know that I will cherish it forever. But, I still like it, quite a bit actually, and maybe that’s why. She’s taken something familiar, and mutated it into something that is hers, like Plato stealing from Socrates.
For the too long; didn’t read version: Alexx Calise’s “In Avanti” has a uniqueness and goodness that I can’t quite explain. While I wouldn’t call this album a musical masterpiece, it’s fun to listen to and will certainly end up in my music rotation. It’s as if Evanescence and Linkin Park got together and decided to not suck. I apologize to Alexx Calise if mentioning either of those two bands have offended her.