By Nick Manteris · 2 Comments · Leave a Comment
In Avanti is the second solo album from singer-songwriter Alexx Calise and Alexx herself forwarded us a copy of the album to review. Her music has elements of pop, rock, angst, electronica and heartbreak, but the prominent feature is definitely rock. Alexx is originally from Florida, but she has relocated to Los Angeles to (presumably) focus more directly on her music career. She is also half of Sound of Cancer, a band she formed with drummer and co-collaborator Dennis Morehouse.
In various places around the web, Alexx claims to be influenced by artists like Silverchair, Buckcherry, Joan Jett, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Aerosmith, Heart, Johnny Lang and Stevie Ray Vaughan. (With the exception of Joan Jett, I can’t claim to really care that much for anyone in that list, but there might be a few individual songs from a couple of those bands that I could say I like.) In interviews, Alexx likes to tell people that her sound is something like “Alanis meets Prodigy,” but I think she’s doing herself a disservice saying that…In Avanti is actually better than recent releases from either of those artists. Musically, this album has a lot in common with artists like Kelly Clarkson, Evanescence and Linkin Park, but vocally – though no female singers immediately sprang to mind – Alexx probably sounds closest to an edgy Erin McCarley.
Upon first listen, In Avanti was reminiscent of the early, unreleased Aimee Allen album from several years back. The only officially released track from that album was “Revolution,” and it was used as the theme song for the WB TV series, Birds of Prey…if you can remember that. (Unfortunately, aside from that song, I was unable to relisten to any of Aimee Allen’s stuff to make a more direct comparison.) Most of the album is merely average compared to the stuff I regularly listen to, but probably above-average compared to most of the dreck that gets played on the radio these days. The highlights are “Good Enough,” “My Song (Version 2.0)” and “Break Me,” a track that would be much better without the vibrato warble. (Fiona Apple and Dolores O'Riordan could also benefit from dropping that particular trick.) After playing In Avanti multiple times, it seems to be growing on me and the rating is actually higher than it would have been if I had only listened once.
Alexx Calise is passionate about music, appears to have the drive to succeed and one of her songs has already been featured on a promo for One Tree Hill. She’s a pretty girl with a great voice and has appeared in a number of commercials, a couple of documentaries and is endorsed/sponsored by over a dozen music-gear and clothing manufacturers – but all of those print and video people just seem to be interested in her looks. (Not that I blame them…even I’m waiting for the Alexx Calise doll to come out.) She’s really just one suggestive photo-shoot and a Dr. Luke/Max Martin-produced track away from being the next big pop sensation – if she wants it – but that could be considered “selling out” to some. (In the meantime, I'm willing to offer my services as a neophyte songwriter and musical idea-person. So Alexx, if you're ever in Vegas, hit me up: I'd love to try to co-write a song with you.)