Lo-fi early Beck with a splash of Sufjan Stevens.
Collect Call is the solo project of Brighton-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Joseph Thorpe. Following up two singles in 2020 with his debut EP “The Golden Hour” late in 2021, there is a wonderful homemade lo-fi style to Collect Call that reminds me of early Beck. Everything from the beats to the non-perfect vocals and the light synths just works in a similar way to “Mellow Gold” from Beck.
The EP isn’t an entire style copy though. Collect Call mixes in a lot of wistful piano to their music. On the opener “Chase The Light”, its airy melodies and bombastic but tinny drum loops feel like a tiny storm in a giant open space. Both chaotic and thinly veiled, it is an unusual mix that works really well when you frame it as bedroom pop. “Simple” follows a similar feel but instead of going straight for catchy hooks, it builds ideas on top of itself like a pyramid and then cascades them down in a stream of melodies of voice, synth, piano, guitar and drums towards the end. It is immensely satisfying.
“No Amount of Medicine” switches gears to indie rock with a focus on guitars and melodic thicker synths. The way Collect Call moves away from the ramshackle bedroom pop into something that feels full-bodied, precise and on point might go unnoticed but it is a huge undertaking in style change. The title track closes out the EP as a near instrumental piano piece with lots of atmospherics and subtle keyboard work hiding underneath like static. It could be flangers, tape whirs, vinyl spits or samples – often it’s all of them. They collide together like a constant stream of audio consciousness. This layer of sound is present throughout the EP and really adds an interesting “found music” flavour to the work that I enjoyed.
Collect Call has made a definite splash with “The Golden Hour”. Deceptively full of sounds, ideas, patterns and shifts in musical behaviour – there’s a lot going on to give its whatever sound. I’m quite excited to see how Collect Call develops in the future – this is a very promising start.
Recommended track: Chase the Light
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