When Califone started as the home project for Tim Rutilli in his Chicago house, the aim was to make little pop songs out of found pieces. It wasn’t too long before Califone outgrew that humble pursuit to become studio experimenters of some note. Stitches is another in the chapter of tunes that are much more than just ‘little pop songs’.
Steel guitar and a laconic drawl show that Califone don’t shy away from some of the staples of their country tinged peers, but it is the smattering of electronica that stand them ahead of the pack. Being a significant contributor to soundtracks, Rutilli would know that Movie Music Kills A Kills. This opening track would be more at home in Texas than Chicago, but is perfectly suited to his almost troubled approach to singing.
Frosted Tips dips further into indie rock territory with its fuzzed out sounds and voice hidden behind the wall of sounds and samples. Rutilli and his rotating cast of band members are as adept in singing about the desperate with Magdalene having a foreboding feel and We Are A Payphone capturing the often deserted and lonely road.
The dense and varied Stiches holds Califone in the minority as one of the bands that are actually pushing the boundaries of the Americana genre.
Rating: 4 stars
_ CHRIS HAVERCROFT