Since I initially discovered Long Distance Calling in 2010, the band has been incising the presence of vocals in their music. This mainly instrumental band did have tradition of including a guest vocalist on a single track on every album, but this incised on The Flood Inside from 2013 and especially on the 2016 masterpiece TRIPS. Over the years the band has collaborated with some fine vocalists and it was the guest appearance from John Bush (Armoured Saint, ex- Anthrax) on the 2011 self-titled album, which demonstrated just how vocals can further elevate their otherwise outlasting music.
The new album entitled Boundless, however, turns the other way, towards the completely instrumental music, which might seem ironic, taking the album title into the consideration.
If you are familiar with the earlier work from this German band, then you know that they are capable of creating something unique with just those four instruments and no vocals. But can they match the almost flawless character of TRIPS?
The new album opens with a +9-minute-long epic “Out There” and by the time it’s finished it is clear that without vocals LDC can pull off much more than most of the other instrumental bands.
“Out There” draws parallels to band’s earlier work and it’s in no way ground-breaking, but rather a fitting representation of what the essence of this band is all about. There is an outstanding balance in song-writing, arrangements and nonetheless production that gives the song seamless flow. The song is not unpredictable, but its execution and atmosphere keep you involved and almost on the edge of the seat. The simplicity of the middle part manages to completely wrap the listener in its intense and minimalist quality.
Focusing on instrumental music might be perceived as back to the roots approach, but Boundless is much more than looking back. In fact, the likes of “In the Clouds”, “Like a River” and “The Far Side” could seamlessly fit on TRIPS.
Common for all the songs is that they fit extremely well together and they have a unique ability of capturing the energy and interplay of four guys jamming in a room and at the same time channelling the vast spaces inside its members. The mixture of the two is truly staggering and at all times you feel the energy of the rehearsal space combined with huge open spaces described in song titles, the artwork and nonetheless band’s name.
The four guys in a rehearsal space were always the core part of that which we know as Long Distance Calling, so it comes as no surprise that also with total absence of vocals they have managed to create an outstanding musical experience. What vocals did in past, however, is ad another dimension to the band’s music, nonetheless because Long Distance Calling knew how to use them. They were never something that the band just plastered on top of a song. It was always a part of the song. Just give “Rewind” from TRIPS a listen and you’ll see what I mean.
Boundless turns out to be a fitting title, because despite absence of vocals, this album is an ode to boundless approach of creating music.