Calvin Love :: Highway Dancer

Across four records and numerous EP's, the speed, direction, and gesticulation-level of Calvin Love's music may have changed, but the Canadian singer and multi-instrumentalist has rooted his music in the one thing that's remained constant: his captivating voice. Surrounding that voice has at times been lofi synth-drenched dance music, searing guitars (one of Love's many talents sometimes forgotten behind his own gesticulating front-man moves), or as on his latest, Highway Dancer, ample space for experiments in numerous textures within his songs.

Success for artists like Love can be opaque. But there's genuine beauty, and envy, in an artist who stays true to exploring their own creations rather than pinpointing a trending sound and running towards it. At various points throughout his career Love could have easily latched on to whatever sound was closest as he traversed North America. Instead, he's been uncompromising. His music is distinctly his own - and while it is his voice that remains as the only real constant, the craft underneath shows his depth as a creator. Where one artist might come across like a baseball slugger in the heart of a lineup, Love is a full 25-man roster. There's sluggers, for sure, but there's also the players making the league-minimum, doing their part and holding on for dear life.

Highway Dancer is filled with moments that seesaw between exhilaration and darkened contemplation. "Dreams Keep Calling" switches between touches of the Velvet Underground and Springsteen, with a BTO-inspired driving piano. It's a song that evokes the track "Sugar Hives," from Love's 2017 EP Ecdysis. That track, layered with sax and sweeping vocals, felt like a breakthrough for Love. It showed the cinematic nature of Love's sound, and the heart of its appeal. Using the same tools, a song like "Dreams Keep Calling" feels like the soundtrack to a movie you desperately want to see.

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