Callel (3 stars)


Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sat 31 Oct

We might be forgiven for thinking that Edinburgh’s Callel are emulating the glory styles of 70s rock here, with guitarist and vocalist Arron Cornall wearing what looks like a velvet cape and a ruffled shirt and at least two of his three bandmates being similarly over-dressed (one sports a luxurious moustache and tinted red glasses). It’s like John Lennon, Lindsey Buckingham and Gene Clark have formed a supergroup.

Not really, it’s just Calleloween: this mob launch their new album Body Discovery while a big audience of friends and local fans act out their dressing-up urges. Result: a good night out that dances over a stream of genres from days gone by, from power-pop to classic AOR. There’s a youthful energy to Callel’s sound, but the influence of parental record collections is apparent on songs like ‘Best Foot on the Ground’ and ‘Body Discovery’ itself. Yes, the sound of Fleetwood Mac and The Byrds is in there, but there’s also some Simon and Garfunkel in Cornall’s folk-toned voice and the kind of exuberant electronic pop you’d find on the soundtrack to a John Hughes film. Fun, retro and not overly serious, this band are still very good at what they do.

Callel, Michael Dodds and The Rapscallions

  • 3 stars

Edinburgh indie rock quartet who have been likened to Arcade Fire and Simon & Garfunkel.

The Holloways, Three Seeds in Paris and Callel

Cheeky indie urchins play their chirpy pop.


1. jon demon6 Nov 2009, 10:35am Report

not the most inspiring of interviews, i saw these boys callel a couple o times now this year including their album launch at cab vol last saturday and have to say that although its obvious some of their influences hark back to a by gone era, its the quality of their songs that really shine through. There's not many bands that have quality songs but these boys do. and i don't know if you got it but callel weren't over dressed, it was a fancy dress night.... lazy journalism is not what we expect from the list!

2. Maitiu Corbett8 Nov 2009, 5:55pm Report

Although I disagree with the reviewer's lukewarm opinion of Callel, he or she has every right to offer it - it's his job. However, if you're going to do a job, do it properly. I would like to introduce Mr. Writer to a concept: research. To evience this, two points need to be made:

1) The singer, who was so frillingly attired, is Craig Hughes. Arron Cornall is the lead guitarist (but also sings rather a lot).

2) The band's Myspace address is Notice the subtle difference? Well, if you don't, I'm sure Cae from the Phillipines will because the page quoted above is his. Perhaps he'll enjoy being lauded as a plural musical revelation, but he may be a little confused.

I would ask the reviewer to take a little more care. Checking his link, and viewing the page it (is meant to) lead to would have givin him/her all the information he needed to achieve another related concept: jouralism.

3. cageytigers8 Nov 2009, 7:19pm Report

Not sure if this it's the same David Pollock who sometimes writes for the Scotsman or just an unfortunate coincidence, but his reviews do seem to be characterised by this kind of 'lazy journalism' - a stream of references to his imagined soundalikes without anything particularly intelligently written about the band and their music.

4. Craig Fae Callel9 Nov 2009, 12:22pm Report

Ha, thanks for reclaiming my name Mr Corbett! And though I don't intend to exacerbate the lazy journalism comment thread, just thought I'd throw in that Arron spells his name with two 'r's. Sorry! We were dressed as Beethoven, John Lennon, John Bonham and Elvis- this should have been clear from our OTT but unmentioned introductions but I guess reviewer didn't catch the whole show. That might explain the confusing 'electronic pop' reference too, as we played Best Foot (the only song that would fit that description) totally live without any drum machines etc. so it was an electronic-free night.
I appreciate the Simon and Garfunkel comparison though.
PS. That photo has got to be at least two years old. I think it was taken on a fan's phone! A real treasure

5. LewisC9 Nov 2009, 6:34pm Report

Lets sweep aside this acrimony and celebrate and worship the genius of ...Cae from the Philippines. He loves Greenday, Adam Sandler movies and enjoys romantic walks in the park, plus he had super-fun-time at Calleloween! Currently he has no friends so I implore you all to add this man to your myspace page and make this young Philippine our advocate for Callel in South East Asia. I'm sure the Callel guys will pen a short song for Cae in appreciation of his unwavering support.

p.s. the John Hughes reference is completely arbitrary...I'm not sure if Body Discovery is the appropriate soundtrack for Joe Pesci slipping on some ice while Macaulay Culkin pumps his little fist with joy. Need more wholesome fare for John Hughes. Plus i wouldn't describe dressing up for a Halloween party as "acting out your urges". Although Bananaman really should have fought his urge harder

6. Patero17 Nov 2009, 1:06pm Report

Quite simply the reviewer can not have been there! In my opinion Callel produced a stunning show in a fabulous Halloween atmosphere enjoyed by a fully enthusisatic and musically knowledgable crowd who were in great spirits throughout the gig.
These boys have a bright future and if this is indicative of the Scottish scene we should be very grateful.
The entrance was both imaginative and stylish and the choice of outfits perfect.
The quality of songs excellent and embracing with quality harmonic interludes and a spectacular end to the session which had the crowd in raptures.
Callel can and will get stunningly better and this is most definitely a band to keep tabs on.
Perhaps the list would like to review this review and learn some lessons and I agree the use of an old photograph is the height of journalistic laziness!

7. comment removed
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
8. Mr Admin19 Nov 2009, 12:48pm

Hi - re the photograph used with this piece. If Callel, or anyone associated with them, would like to supply us with an up to date photograph, we'll gladly replace it. The one above was the best we could find, from their MySpace. We'd recommend that *any* new band make having a selection easy-to-find hi-res press shots (both studio and live) somewhere online one of their main priorities (after writing good songs) if they are interested in being written about. Thanks - The List

9. Morna19 Nov 2009, 4:42pm Report

I agree with Vile. Geezo.

Cheer up grumpy nitpickers!

10. jon demon20 Nov 2009, 9:21am Report

My original comment was purely based on the fact that this is a very mediocre review and I thought they probably deserved better than three 3 stars. To Vile and Morna, who you calling a 'fcker' and 'grumpy nitpickers' (nice), I mean do you work for the list?

At the end of they're a great band so if ignorance works for you Vile and you want to avoid the music just because some fans you don't even know are sticking up for a band they like, then do so. But if you're going to base your taste of music on these types of assumptions, you must have a pretty shoddy record collection.

love jon 'the grumpy nitpicker' demon

11. Craig Fae Callel20 Nov 2009, 11:44am Report

What a charming coincidence that two comments leaping to the defence of the reviewer appear on the comment board on the very same day as an official List statement! haha! Just a coincidence mind you #checks over shoulder with fear#
In defence of our loyal minions, perhaps the comments are more reflective of the article rather than our fans. After all, there are no 'grumpy nitpickers' in sight on this review:
Dear beloved followers- let's let this lie (too many L's?), we've had way worse reviews back in the old days and the tone of this one is actually pretty positive! If you enjoyed the gig, or more importantly for us- bought shitloads of merchandise- then that's all that matters to us.
Peace and love

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