Calicoco is the solo recording project of Rochester’s Giana Caliolo, who you might know as the drummer from Secret Pizza. With the help of Kamara Robideau (bass), Andy Baker (drums) and Matt Battle (some drums, producer), Calicoco last year put out their debut album, Float, via Dadstache Records.
Despite ostensibly being a break-up record, Float is an album keyed into the sadness of the mundane, the end of the relationship serving not as the monolithic centrepiece but rather a light that brings out the melancholy that exists all around. From the opening lines of ‘What If’, which asks “What if it was all different?” while promising not to go back, the record exists in the space between the troubled past and imagined futures that never came to be. The space is a familiar one because it marks our contemporary age. Ours is the time where the promises of our childhood collapse along with those of our politicians and technocrats, the sense of loss surrounding something that never existed haunts the personal, political and cultural spheres, pushing a low-level grief into every waking moment.
Which all sounds abstract and grand, though in reality becomes manifest in the most intimate matters. Just as the anxiety of ‘Night Owl’ butts up against the hope of ‘Market’, the crises of confidence and identity Calicoco explores born of the discrepancy between dreams and nightmares—where nothing is quite as good as you would like, and always threatening to get exponentially worse. Perhaps this too explains the tidal rhythm of the record, the way the guitars crash like breakers at one moment (‘Stay For a While’) and suck in low and slow the next (‘South’).
‘Rob’s Song’ is reminiscent of Act Of, the dual vocals and minimalist instrumentation lending a complete intimacy, while ‘Anchor Park’ is altogether richer, advancing from unsure beginnings into a spiky energy that fills the air with an ominous ambience. “When I was writing ‘Anchor Park’, I was trying to confront some of my early shame, fears, and anxieties that have followed me into adulthood, some of which touch upon sexuality and gender,” Caliolo explains. “I had this vision of going back to the park as an adult to acknowledge some of these things. It was honestly so cathartic to play an alter-ego and face those demons head on.”
Indeed, Float as a whole could be viewed as such a head-on confrontation, be it related to distinct moments in Caliolo’s history or the more diffuse emotions that permeate the present. The later is addressed in ‘Who Knows’, a track pitched halfway between pop punk and pop ballad, and closer ‘Oh My Love’ too, a lo-fi folk song of aching longing, playing like the late afternoon winter sun—honeyed and warm but stretching ever thinner, all the more beautiful for its fleeting shine.
Float is out now via Dadstache Records and you can grab it from the Calicoco Bandcamp page.
Album art photography by Lily Goldstein