Following on from 2010’s self-titled EP, Call To Mind have released their debut album The Winter Is White through the prolific Olive Grove Records – also home of Randolph’s Leap and Pensioner to name a few.
Opener ‘A Family Sketch’ serves as a prologue to the beautiful sermon the listener is about to receive, laying down the precedent of piano-led structures and sickly-sweet vocals of Martin Ross.
‘January (You Are All I See)’ stays true to this structure, painting a wistful musical picture accented with piercing guitar lines, however successor ‘Energy // Blast’ delivers a more direct punch, as the name may suggest.
While remaining tame by the standards of most, this track is certainly home to the most urgency on The Winter Is White, and appears to vent the quintet’s animosity early on, giving ample room for beauty later on.
A great deal of care has evidently been taken in producing the correct atmosphere for this album, which hence is best received in a non-stop, start to end listening, in order to guide you through the many ups and downs.
The most euphoric peak of the record is perhaps ‘Breathe’, a majestic snow-topped mountain in the ambient and misty atmosphere that is this record; hailing from the north of Scotland, perhaps some of that breath-taking scenery has seeped into the music of Call To Mind, inspiring a captivating blend of art.
‘Breathe’ also signals one of the most “conventional” sides of the record, being built on vocals and harmonies, with a clearly defined direction – a contrast to the whimsical soundscapes of album’s majority – also featured are some strings, to broaden the scope and broaden the lush feel.
While Call To Mind could draw comparison to the more melancholy moments of Biffy Clyro’s earlier years (e.g. ‘The Atrocity, ‘Christopher’s River’…), and likely will from critics of the “it’s not quite normal, and quite Scottish” ilk, it’d be more fitting to compare them to more contemporary artists such as There Will Be Fireworks.
There’s even a taste of countrymen Mogwai in The Winter Is White for all its ambience and soaring instrumentation, likely to brandish the coveted/despised post-rock tag.
Essentially, Call To Mind’s debut album is a complex yet impeccably executed landscape of sounds, calling to mind images a white winter’s morning in the majesty surroundings of the Scottish Highlands.
In a year where celebrating Scotland, and everything associated with it, we can but hope there’s ample time spared for that legion of musicians that make incredible creations that can all too often go unmissed.
Call To Mind have the key to accomplishment in The Winter Is White, it’ll be intriguing to see which doors they choose to unlock in the near and distant future.
Words: Kyle McCormick