It’s not often that you get an album with a prelude these days but that is exactly what The Vintage Calvinos – Aberdeen’s David Baird and associates – give us to kick off “An Invitation to Infamy”. Being a full time cynic, I immediately suspected an attack of artistic pretension was on the cards but what I experienced instead was a selection of songs that, while not quite emulating the style of Tom Waits, demonstrate effectively that there is a new storyteller amongst us.
In consequence, that makes “An Invitation to Infamy” an album to absorb in a single sitting with ambient sound effects, oblique samples and curious interludes being used to join everything into one cohesive yet still thematically diverse musical entity that engages both heart and ears. Add in a curious tendency to use a knowing quirkiness with abandon and you end up with a selection of songs that are most certainly not standard even if the ever sociable ghost of Britpop drops by to haunt both “You Are Always on My Mind” and “This Handsome Boy”. No exorcism is required though as those songs are just about perfect.
The most interesting thing about this album though is its very complexity. Albums these days tend to rely on the computer to make it perfect yet “An Invitation to Infamy” instead verges on the untidy with individuality much to the fore and everything but the kitchen sink thrown in to provide ballast for a ship that simply refuses to be sunk.
One for mature tastes perhaps but if you have the ears to appreciate rambling magnificence then The Vintage Calvinos are the band for you.