Caligula's Horse: Bloom

Australian indie-proggers’ tidy third outing.

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From Tame Impala to Karnivool – Australian bands are getting more attention than ever, and this Brisbane mob certainly deserve to catch that slipstream.

Indeed, on this third album, they are sounding ever more like they just need an arena to fill. No, it’s not full of ‘woah-ohs’ and chant-along choruses, but theirs is a big sound that’s full of subtle dynamics and dramatic pace changes. Sure, Firelight’s ringing guitars and driving bass could teach Coldplay a thing or two, but Turntail is more typical, marrying a juddering, three-legged time-signature with a booming rush of an anthemic chorus, and Rust blends Biffy Clyro-style emo with staccato prog dramatics and metal punch. ‘She smiles like an open grave’ Jim Grey croons darkly on Dragonfly. The Daughter Of The Mountain has similarly gothic tinges, as a winning riff, a beguiling, mystically tinged melody and some delicately contemplative passages keep us on our toes, either side of some well-placed ear-bending solos from chief songwriter Sam Vallen. As romantic acoustic paean Undergrowth finishes, you realise Caligula’s Horse have blended a myriad of influences into a coherent but unpredictable sound of their own.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock