In Contact - Caligula's Horse

Artist: Caligula's Horse

Album: In Contact

Genre: Progressive Rock

Review by Tomina Vincent

Caligula’s Horse have become a huge name in the Australian and International progressive scene, and with three albums under their belt already, their fourth is one I was extremely excited to hear, especially as I’m a long-time fan. I sat down and pressed play, giddy like a little kid excited to get ice cream. And Ice cream is exactly what I got.

As a whole, the new album is reminiscent of the band’s more recent work. The production is clearer and better defined than on its predecessor, and the songs are more in line with The Tide, The Thief and River’s End – lush and soaring epics, with ever-changing movements, nuances and the solid colour of a well-defined sound, while retaining the bittersweet light-heartedness of Bloom, with perhaps less catchiness throughout.

In Contact has been described as a concept album, and admittedly while the music is cohesive and flows beautifully and evenly, it is difficult to define the concept itself; but the lyrics feel nevertheless personal and honest, and Jim Grey’s vocal delivery is strong and quietly confident – exactly what you’d expect from a master of their craft. Sam Vallen’s guitar work is nothing short of pristine and perfect, and sometimes dizzyingly complex. You know you are listening to one of the greats, a virtuoso. The rhythm section is fluent and strong, remaining both tasteful and experimental, providing a concrete foundation for the fluttering and ephemeral elements built on top. And to add to the charm of the record, we are given a heart-wrenching spoken word piece called ‘Inertia and The Weapon of the Wall’. I urge you to sit down with this and really take it in.

We have been given an album showcasing Caligula’s Horse’s signature sound – the magnificent guitar work, adventurous percussion and masterful vocals are an absolute delight to listen to. In Contact feels like an honest work and is full of life. And while this record is a phenomenally well executed effort and will satisfy any fan out there and certainly gain them new ones, it would have been wonderful to hear something a little less familiar from this juggernaut of progressive rock. That said, this is a band that has always stayed true to who they are, and In Contact is a celebration of that exact attitude.

Favourite track: Songs for No One

8.5 out of 10 stars.

In Contact is out September 15 via Inside Out Music.

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