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Calicoco’s new album ‘Underneath’ is an uncompromising indie rock exorcism 

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Long Island-based multi-instrumentalist Giana Caliolo makes bracing, stream-of-consciousness art rock on “Underneath,” the second full-length album from their recording project Calicoco. Following 2018’s “Float,” “Underneath” amps up Calicoco’s angst-ridden lyrics and non-formulaic song structures. This is Caliolo — who’s played in the Rochester bands Secret Pizza and Pony Hand — at their most honest and uncompromising.

Recorded in Rochester with Stephen Roessner and Phil Shaw, and released on Sept. 3 via Dadstache Records,“Underneath” shows Caliolo confronting an internal conflict sparked from an intense breakup, which led to a period of pain and guilt. “I really had a hard time living with myself,” they say. “I definitely had moments of not wanting to be here.”

That feeling comes across immediately in the fiery opener “I Hate Living With Me,” a track that constantly builds from its marching beat and shattering guitar run, introducing the album’s consistent shadowy tone. “Strangers” spirals into a hazy wall of sound that’s just as claustrophobic as it is exhilarating, while the haunting title track is raw and direct.

The striking, anthemic “Heal Me” is a full, three-minute exorcism that’s Caliolo’s most personal statement across the nine-track album: ”Kill me / Sue me / Hear me / Feel Me / Feed me / Breed / Cure me / Learn me,” they sing, before quickly escalating to the urgent words, “Just give me a goddamn lobotomy.”

The swooning “Melancholy” is fueled by its earworm mix of sharpened post-punk and warped desert rock. The slow-burning closer “I Was the Devil” is a reworked version of the original track that appeared on 2019’s EP “Remnant.” The reimagined track swaps out the stripped-down acoustics in favor of shimmering synths that build to a rousing, heart-wrenching finish.

There’s really nothing comfortable about listening to “Underneath.” The album is an intense, technicolored explosion, a chaotic trip down the rabbit hole with Caliolo’s thoughts — clashing in the beginning, but finally calming in the end.

Joe Massaro is a freelance writer for CITY. Feedback on this article can be directed to
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