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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

First Listen: Caltrop's second album is worth waiting for

Posted by on Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 3:11 PM

On April 3, Caltrop will release ten million years and eight minutes, its second album, and first in nearly four years. That sort of gap between albums is rare in an era of constant content streams, but it actually suits Caltrop; in its own unhurried way, the Chapel Hill foursome has used the lengthy interval to sharpen its approach and add new elements.

By no measure is ten million years a departure from the template set by World Class, the band’s heavy debut platter of Sabbath sludge and Zeppelin sprawl. It’s just that the band is reaching farther and with more confidence. The 13-minute “Perihelion” is a fitting centerpiece, as it works its way through all of Caltrop’s strengths. Cloudy psychedelic breaks give way to blues-metal thunder, and nimble guitar lines crack against rumbling low-end. The best moment, though, is its least characteristic: the gently propulsive, folk-informed section beginning at the 2:20 mark, where guitar leads dart like flies in summer air and the band sings together, quietly at first, but with growing resolve.

The long and deliberate “Perihelion” isn’t entirely indicative of ten million years, though. The album also boasts Caltrop’s most righteous hard rock in songs like the brilliant “Ancient” and anthemic “Form and Abandon.”
Caltrop might’ve taken its time preparing ten million years, but it was worth the wait. It will be available via Holidays for Quince April 3.

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