Vocalist Jim Grey is a busy man. Not only is he the singer for Caligula’s Horse but he is also the vocalist for Arcane. Arcane released their second album in January, a double album entitled “Known / Learned.” I mention Arcane because with Jim’s distinctive voice, it’s very difficult not to compare these two bands. Given that “Known / Learned” might be my favorite album of 2015, “Bloom” by Caligula’s Horse is up against a tough situation.
But then it is completely unfair to compare the two bands because they are DIFFERENT bands. Even so, this band’s last album was incredible also. So it is fair to compare “Bloom” to “The Tide, the Thief & River’s End.” The major difference between these two albums is the overall tone. “The Tide, the Thief & River’s End” is a darker album which has a very isolated, cold feeling to it. “Bloom” on the other hand, like it’s title, is basically the opposite. It’s optimistic and bright. Even the album cover’s suggest that “The Tide, the Thief & River’s End” was the winter and “Bloom” is the spring of the band’s catalog.
The title track starts off the album with a quiet acoustic intro before kicking in halfway through when it has a very Floydian feel to it. Eventually the song really takes off toward the end. A lot happens in a mere three minutes. That launches right into “Marigold” which has a strong, muscular riff. Just because the album is positive and bright doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its heavy moments.
The highlights for me are the two longer tracks “Dragonfly” and “Daughter of the Mountain.” “Dragonfly” is the longest at nearly ten minutes. It showcases Jim’s always strong, confident voice. He really kills it. The song has it all. Quieter moments, big riffs, a strong chorus and a great performance by the whole band. “Daughter of the Mountain” also showcases Jim’s voice but also the riffs of Sam Vallen. This song has one of the album’s best riffs which starts the song off and reappears though out the song between the sweeping melodies and more delicate moments.
While this album doesn’t quite hit me as hard as its predecessor “The Tide, the Thief & River’s End,” I think “Bloom” does show that this band is growing and stretching out more. They sound more confident and even more aggressive at times. It’s great that InsideOut Music signed this band and hopefully they can see about reissuing the band’s first two albums. For now, we have Caligula’s Horse blossoming into a formidable band on “Bloom.”
7. Daughter of the Mountain
Label: InsideOut Music
Check out my interview with Jim Grey here!