Long Distance Calling have been a favorite of mine. Over the years, they’ve released one great album after the next. They even had fan support behind their self released album “Nighthawk” which was very experimental. Their prior album “The Flood Inside” marked a lineup change that included a full time vocalist for the first time with Martin Fischer joining them.
LDC have always had one song on each album that included vocals but on “The Flood Inside,” half the album had vocals. While I didn’t mind that change at all, I was never entirely sold on Fischer’s vocals. He was good but I wouldn’t call him dynamic either. The proof was in the stand out track “Welcome Change” which included Petter Carlsen and Anathema’s frontman Vincent Cavanagh on vocals. Both really pointed out that perhaps LDC could do better.
On “TRIPS,” Fischer is out and replacing him on vocals is the aforementioned Petter Carlsen of Pil & Bue. Carlson has the high octane vocals that match the power that LDC possess. It makes for an absolutely PERFECT match! “TRIPS” kicks off with the rocking instrumental “Getwaway,” and immediately you can feel the energy of the band is stronger than ever.
Carlsen shows off his vocal talents on the second track, the relentless “Reconnect.”Carlsen’s best vocal might be on the song “Plans” which is as close to a ballad as LDC will ever get. The song builds slowly until it absolutely BOILS over. “Rewind” features piano to start off which is nice since the lack of keys on “The Flood Inside” was noticeable. It’s great that the band are using all of their sonic palette. “Rewind” showcases Carlsen’s amazing range too.
The band are just as dangerous without Carlsen and the aptly titled “Momentum” is proof of that. The song is one of the best workout songs ever. Yes I’ve been using it while jogging! For those who pine for the longer, more epic post rock leanings of LDC’s past, the track “Flux” is for you. It would fit nicely on any of the first three albums.
There’s some brief spoken samples on the interlude “Presence” and “Flux,” and while both are thought provoking, they also aren’t obtrusive either. Granted neither are as clever as the wacked out shit on “Waves.” It’s a sign that while LDC are still very much the band they’ve been, they are also growing and maturing as well.
Every track on “TRIPS” is great. I’ve loved every album Long Distance Calling has done but this is my new favorite album by them. “TRIPS” is quite simply a masterpiece. It’s the perfect marriage of a super talented band and a dynamic vocalist creating some of 2016’s best music. This will be on my best of 2016 list.
10. Escape (bonus track)