With their third album, Fitz and The Tantrums continue to push into the realm of purer pop. Our Samantha Lopez reviews.
Somewhere along the way, we must have lost track of what it meant to be emotional. This is the starting point for Not Caleb’s latest release, Fear Love, an 11 track EP that takes things back to their roots with a disarmingly honest voice. The Vermont native sees himself in the emo vein, but his version is a few steps removed from the genre’s early-aughts heyday, using familiar structures and themes but re-working them into complexly layered acoustic guitar and vocals that coalesce into something greater, and different. Time and time again though, it’s Not Caleb’s vocals that shine through, earnest and raw, heavy with emotion.
“Fear snuck up on me,” he says of the project. “Fear of growing older, fear of death when my grandfather passed away. Fear was real now. I stopped climbing trees when I broke my arm, I stopped exploring when my cat got killed by a car. I stopped doing things I loved because fear stopped me…Now I realize, you need to be hurt to learn to love. You need to lose your job to find a better one. You need to lose a house to find your home. It’s not a house that makes you happy. It’s not a job that makes you live. It’s not a person that makes you love. Only you can make you love and if you are afraid to do the things you love than what are you living for?”
It’s the kind of stuff that sounds cliche, the reason the emo genre gets so much shit for being sappy and lame, but it’s also the stuff we all know deep down to be true, the stuff we just might believe, if only we could hear someone sing it with enough conviction.
Fear Love is available for download here, and streaming on Spotify.