SxSW Review: Calva Louise, March 16, Cedar Street Courtyard

20220316 Calva Louise
Calva Louise specializes in what should be termed pop-guitarism. The band name may have been inspired by a bald lady after people watching in Manchester. Or a beloved childhood cartoon character. Or a game of charades one random night. Or Google Translate as read by a drunk reviewer fumbling for context at 12 in the morning at Cedar Street Courtyard.

As with previous singles and EPs, Calva Louise’s music centers on passages of meaty guitar riffs dressed up with with pinches of vocal utterance. Songs such as “Hunting” and “Belicoso” have little internal progression, and make for a square wave set that goes from quiet banter to 120% volume for the next 3 minutes, then repeats. However, they did sound much better live when the music is less wrapped up in electronic embellishments.

There are lots of bands that strive to bring together far-flung musical influences from the “corners” of the world – a mix of British, American and Latin music doesn’t sound like a particularly ingenious potpourri, if you will pardon the pun on their EP by the self-conscious name POP(urri). What sets Calva Louise apart is an additional emphasis on the animation projected behind the drummer. Designed by the lead guitar Jess, they don’t so much create a new mood as present a more interesting photo-op as opposed to the brand/sponsor logos. Despite what may sound like misgivings, the energy from their live set is undeniably attractive.

Calva Louise are currently on an American tour behind their new album Euphoric.

Posted on by Gary in South By Southwest