Alexx Calise has been gaining buzz amid a recent surge of female-fronted rock. Since picking up a guitar at age 11, Calise has been penning music at a frenetic pace. This former Florida resident, who now lives in LA, has just released her second CD, In Avanti, and it’s a strong collection of hooks, big guitars, and radio-ready tunes.
In Avanti opens with “Anything Goes” a cross between melodic hard rock and retro synth pop. It sounds like an odd combination, but it’s fresh and dynamic. Maybe there’s too much Auto-Tune on Alexx’s voice, but it kind of fits in with the vibe here, so we’ll let that one slide. The opening of "Get Used to It" could come from any downtempo compilation. But before the break into light trance, Alexx’s voice comes in, turning the song into a churning rock anthem with a sweeping chorus.
“Cry” has grand ambitions with minimal delivery. It’s a sparse, acoustic song with a barely perceptible backbeat and up-front strings. The chorus reaches out immediately, and floats this one towards magnum opus category. It’s easily the early standout on the record.
“Out of Sight” is anchored by a huge hook, which more than offsets the Evanescence-esque verses. It’s indicative of the strength of the songwriting here in regards to making accessible, yet slightly more challenging music than you’ll find on most radio playlists. That being said, a song like “Out of Sight” fits right at home in the current crop of harder-edged rock-pop artist, like Paramore and Halestorm.
“Good Enough” is simply a scorcher, and the record’s final two tracks, “Saying Goodbye” and the power ballad “See You Again,” round out the collection nicely. “See You Again” especially is another song that with the right promotion could be a sizable hit on both radio and, licensed correctly, could be background for the ubiquitous musical montage that’s become a fixture on nearly every TV show. In fact, her previous record “Morning Pill” was used on a One Tree Hill promo. I think it’s a reasonable assumption that we’ll be hearing more of her stuff on the tube.
Props are to be given to the production. The sound is clear and delineated. There is nary a clip nor a muddy snare mix in the batch. One of the interesting aspects of the songs here are touches of electronica that permeate throughout the record. Samples, bits of dropped beat percussion, and atmospheric tinges of synth are added in sparingly to give a dynamic feel to the songs that sets them apart.
Alexx Calise is clearly an artist on the rise and making music to match.