The past couple years have been good for guitarist-songwriter Alexx Calise. Her criminally underrated single “Cry” got a new life on YouTube, courtesy of a reality TV show (Dance Moms). Her music has been featured everywhere from MTV to CMT. Now she’s out with a blazing new record (or more accurately, an EP), AC3.
AC3 opens with “Not Crazy”, an uptempo rock showcase. It’s not a standout track, but it gives the EP a fast start and goes right into “Outta Here Alive," an excellent hook-laden alt-rocker. “Break My” is a mid-tempo, blues-tinged number with melancholy verses that rise up into an all-too-short chorus. Like “Cry," “Survive” showcases Calise’s singer-songwriter side, her voice running up and down the acoustic music with a firebrand passion.
The EP's standout track is “Why." The song starts off with a powerful driving riff. It’s garage band rock buoyed by Calise’s clear vocals and melodic sensibility. Calise’s guitar work on this track is particularly good.
Calise’s songwriting strength is the way she can intertwine incisive lyrics into strong melodies, playing off of her intuitive guitar work. Calise might be immediately compared to the likes of Halestorm and Paramore. However, she has developed, over the last few years, a refreshingly unique sound.
As a bonus, the production by Wes Michener is powerful, yet clear and layered. Each instrument is given enough sonic space to breathe, a welcome change from the usual muddy mess that is the norm in modern rock recording.