Ascending from the silence like a divine force that was always meant to rise from this earth and return to the heavens from which it was originally sent, we discover the opening bars of “This is Awkward” adorned with a melody as rich as it is palatable to anyone who loves guitar-driven pop music. Even before Callisto has begun to sing in this, their new single, there’s a sense of anticipation that accompanies every passing, unspoken beat in the music. As our singer starts serenading us with a voice as soft as silk and their lyrics begin taking hold of us by the chest, there’s nothing that can be done to stop the momentum he’s looking to spur forth – we’re best to buckle up and prepare for a one of a kind rock n’ roll performance.
This lead vocal is stunning, but it gets a lot of assistance in the harmony from the gilded keys that seem to shadow every word our leading man is singing to us. He’s not necessarily reserved in demeanor, but he holds back from giving us the full scale of his capabilities as a singer until we’re in the arms of the chorus, where he comes undone like a pillar beneath an aging building that cannot stand any longer.
The dam of catharsis that bursts open infects anyone listening to the song with its freeing emotionality, and by the time we hit the halfway point in “This is Awkward,” we indeed feel as though we’re getting all the more intimate with Callisto and their narrative here. The instrumentation is startlingly heavy as we get closer to the finish line in this track, but there isn’t a lot of bassline excess for us to sift through and rediscover the melody.
Everything is kept light and feathery on the backend, with the front instead bearing the burden of carrying all the sonic weight from the vocal and keys through the speakers and into the air around us. Ultimately, I should mention, this yields a lot more engaging an experience for listeners who aren’t necessarily interested in the plasticized, oft-synthy sound that contemporary pop frequently relishes, as it produces a version of “This is Awkward” that is accessible to the college rock radio crowd as much as it is the teen beat audience simply looking for some melodic moxie.
We come to the end of “This is Awkward” in a tizzy of vocal harmonies that suddenly wrap into a singular strand of aural gold before returning to the silence once more. When the dust settles and we’re able to process the totality of what we’ve been listening to in the last few minutes, there’s no getting around the fact that everything this song does is designed to showcase the unadulterated lustiness of this band’s chemistry. Callisto is a band that faces a lot of stiff competition from their brethren in the underground at the moment, but going off of what I’ve just heard in “This is Awkward,” they are not about to back down from the challenge of finding their fame without a fight.