Perhaps the style analysts of future centuries will conclude that the popularity of the Americana genre in our times was part of a wish for simpler times and there would indeed be some veracity in that assessment. Certainly, Calatea show no sign of having adopted the soulless synthetic of the modern music machine and, instead, they infuse the four songs that make up their EP “Color Me” with a pleasingly organic quality.
The cynical amongst you might also have thought that, like any band seeking bookings at roots festivals throughout Europe, Calatea - Swedish duo Daniel Hansson and Natalie Johansson – are just another case of adopting a musical style to pay the rent yet I sense that there is a deeper purpose here and, while the melancholy inherent to the genre is present and correct, there is something almost spiritual about this duo’s direction. It also has to be said that neither is there is any pretension of privileged connectivity to some rose tinted reflection of the past. Instead, and this more than justifies their direct musical approach, there is a downbeat but never actually depressing take on the heartbeat of a simple life with Natalie Johansson’s voice drifting between reality and cigarettes as if forever wishing, even praying, for a better tomorrow.
The dustbowl that is Americana is filled with the skeletons of past glories, Calatea, however, give life and a voice to the ghosts who would speak the eternal truths.
Best song? The gloriously melancholic “Deep Water”.
The verdict? Calatea go deeper and darker than most but are made buoyant by emotional integrity.