Calculator - This Will Come To Pass
Record Label: self-released
Release Date: June 1, 2013
California quintet Calculator continues to be a band of glorious highs, the most pristine moments of the post-hardcore skramz blend lingering well after classic twinkling emo guitars and heavy chords drop out. Whether it be the jagged crests of “Fivethousand” (These Roots Grow Deep” or the thoughtful construction of “Of Perfect Days (New Forms), these highs constructed of sudden shifts and sonic u-turns are what make me so fond of the band.
With the summer release of new full length This Will Come to Pass, that key trait remains. What has changed - or more appropriately, evolved - is the music itself. While These Roots Grow Deep still has a charm to it - the work of a young band, raw and unpolished, but with talent and ideas - this new Calculator material almost renders Roots to adorable kid sibling status. This growth from Roots was in evidence inn New Forms’ three songs, and the improvement is even more apparent on This Will Come To Pass.
It’s a much more well-rounded album, less a loose construct of small moments. There is a consistent tone throughout, an unsurprising blend of coursing and blooming beauty and the ominous, impending unknown (the mysterious “This” of the title). The songs are wholly formed and fluid; the album can be spoken of in terms of the best songs with many fine moments, rather than the best moment in a fine song. The production quality is upped quite noticeably as well, further showcasing their better musicianship while still holding to a DIY (or cry) aesthetic.
Calculator still stops and starts like a temperamental toddler, toggling between blissful swoons and frantic tantrums, but the transitions feel cleaner, more cooperative. Initial standout “Permanent State of Daylight” is a prime example as it capably weaves its way from peak to peak, the moments of still-tuneful clangor, shouted discord, and melodious bridge.
Basically Calculator have gotten better at what they’re already good at.
The most interesting moments on the album, though, are the proverbial “new tricks,” the moments when Calculator doesn’t simply sound better, but different. There is one sterling example of this: “Come Closer, Go Unto.” It’s a comparatively sparse and patient track, playing with space in a vastly different way than the usual filling it up or stretching it out. It’s brief, a fleeting moment, that displays a range and willingness to branch out. It feels older, haunted, with a folk stomp and croon filtered through the Calculator sound: an old west ghost song, the track that has you looking backwards even as you are thrust into the next buzzing beehive of a song.
It’s by far the most interesting track on the album, an affecting moment that lingers long after any other track. “Becoming/Whisperings In Sleep” is a track with heft, but even that rolling snowball of calculated emotional weight is not unexpected. “Come Closer, Go Unto” is one of the more surprising songs I’ve heard all year, which is why it has an unseemly two paragraphs dedicated to it. The moment the drums storm the song is simply sublime.
It could be said that This Will Come To Pass is a more mature album, that the boys of Calculator have become men. That’s an overused phrase because it is so often appropriate; it’s applicable here because it’s true. This Calculator is advanced and unerringly gorgeous, whether it be in the foreboding feedback of “Reverie” or the rainfall drums of “Becoming//Whisperings in Sleep;” hopefully future releases will continue to be more evolved and playful.