Two Cents on CALYX’s “For To, Oh” EP

UntitledContrary to the imagination of its title, CALYX’s For To, Oh is not a testament to weed-fueled jam-band mythos or, this being Pittsburgh, a smoky-eyed homage to Wiz Khalifa. Instead, it’s a textured, even borderline-mathy, addition to this trio’s growing – and impressive – catalog. And it’s definitely worth the $2 download asking price.

Sounding, at times, like a cross between For Respect-era Don Caballero and post-rock legends Rodan, CALYX darts between punk blasts with tons of hooks, and more dense, interconnected guitar and bass terrain on the two-song offering, which is available now on its Bandcamp page. Leading the charge throughout the proceedings is front-woman Caitlin Bender, whose clear-headed delivery could teach Rolo Tomassi a thing or two about contrasting heavy digs with a beautific female lead. The result is an EP that’s engaging but doesn’t overstay its welcome, an excellent and too-short successor to 2016’s Make A Freak Feel Clean. And, without question, it leaves listeners itching for a full-length platter.

“Money Blood,” the digital record’s “A side,” starts with the breathy sing-song of windchimes and gallops through some dirgy bass before landing on a lightning-footed refrain that captures all of the energy this band is pushing out there – and that’s saying a lot. “Dam Behind Bam,” the “B side,” has less separation between its passages but is no less textured, an inviting balancing act between aggression and restraint. The fact that these guys can pull off this range of musicality in two songs or eight minutes is saying something.

All in all, For To, Oh will speak to Pittsburghers  and those beyond the environs Allegheny who long for the days when area post-rockers The Sea, Like Lead – which, if CALYX’s members have heard them,  easily could be cited as an inspiration for portions of this EP –  were self-releasing records. Like much of what this band’s been doing since 2014’s Build Up EP, For To, Oh is an invigorating little blast of post-rock heaven run through the raging-melody ringer, and it’s worth tracking down.

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