On a gray, lazy afternoon, Alex Calder’s Time EP fits the bill quite nicely. Prior to this recent solo release, Calder worked primarily as one half of the Canadian indie pop duo Makeout Tape. Alongside co-conspirator Mac DeMarco, Calder became known for a uniquely rebellious approach to the creation of floaty, lo-fi sounds. But now, he’s left all that behind– sort of. On Time, Alex Calder succeeds in crafting a charming, if not amateurish, debut, the next natural progression in entering the world of solo-stardom.
Okay, so “stardom” probably isn’t something that Alex Calder is searching for, but he still takes bold, innovative steps forward on Time. The EP maintains an underlying sense of adventure, even throughout its sleepiest, dreamiest moments. Most of the songs were recorded in Calder’s Montreal living room, which actually works in the young melody maker’s favor. Sweet, simple, and dripping in reverb fuzz, the EP’s seven songs are a far-out display of grunge-tinged 60s pop; sort of like listening to the Velvet Underground in the comforting, echo-y silence of the woods. The experience of Time— for better or worse– makes it far too easy to drift away into sleepy nothingness, which sometimes makes the EP’s tracks sound indistinguishable from each other. Don’t expect any big or tumultuous chords of the Baby Grand Piano dimensions. Still, Time isn’t without its standout moments, and taken individually, each song feels like a real, rare treat.
Some of these standouts include opener “Suki and Me,” a laid-back introduction to Calder’s warped, slightly delirious point-of-view. Both “Location” and title track “Time” are representative of the EP’s psychedelic influence, both featuring a thumping bass and a vaguely upbeat, hazy feel. By the time things wind down with introspective closer “Lethargic,” Calder has got his listener hooked. Sure, there are flaws on Time, but it’s pertinent to view them as simple growing pains, as opposed to major pitfalls. It’s clear that Alex Calder has miles to go, but in the meantime, I’m glad to continue the distorted, delightful journey.