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“This is Awkward” by Callisto

Rolling away from the silence like a train breaking the horizon, a mean tempo greets us against the backdrop of a textured beat in the opening bars of “This is Awkward,” the new single from rockers Callisto.

A true to the blue-collar type of rock band, it should come as no surprise to those who follow this group that their latest release is saturated with an optimism that has become all too rare in contemporary rock n’ roll. “This is Awkward” slowly but surely finds its way into the spotlight, not through over-the-top theatrics and larger-than-life grooves, but instead through a consistent emotionality that suggests a willingness to be vulnerable in their music. They aren’t trying to hide behind a lot of the same bells and whistles that their rivals would just as soon utilize when laying down the foundation for an entire LP – their ambitions are far too lofty to engage in such nonsense, and here, they make it clear how committed to their craft they truly are. Reviving old-school power-rock with a vengeance, Callisto breaks off one of the best new singles I’ve heard from an underground source this season.  

The tone of the lyrics in this song is reflected beautifully in the rhythm of the instruments, and to some extent, I think we’re able to appreciate the concept behind the narrative because of the symbolic relationship between every verse and the beat accompanying them. Everything on the melodic end of the spectrum plays off of the vocal’s velvety command of the harmony, but I would stop well short of describing the serenade as being so potent that we aren’t able to appreciate more subtle intricacies in the master mix – and let me tell you, there are quite a few to be enjoyed at the time of writing this review.

I love the seamlessness of every component here, and although there are a couple of spots in which the guitars make a play for the lion’s share of our affection, there’s never an instance where we’re forced to divide our attention between their strings and the melodies unleashed by the bassline and vocalist collectively.  

I didn’t know much about Callisto before picking up a copy of their new single “This is Awkward” just this week, but now that I’ve got a better idea about how much they can accomplish when everything is clicking for their experimentations inside of the recording studio, this won’t be the last time I review their music. There haven’t been many rock bands that I’ve been able to get excited about in the year 2023 so far, but with what these guys are offering in “This is Awkward,” it’s hard to call this month a total wash for intriguing new output. They’ve got a couple of kinks they need to work out of their sound before they can successfully segue from the underground to the mainstream, but this is a great way of getting their relationship with audiences and critics started on the right note.  

Mindy McCall



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