I always ran towards caves when I went hiking with my parents as a little girl. I loved the echoes that bounced off the rocky walls when I shouted my name and my favorite foods — which is why I love “Until I Try” off 18-year-old Calvin Lamothe’s newest EP, Ten Tundra. The line “I guess I’ll never know until I try” repeats over and over, the words cascading into each other, just as the line “I’m a fragile child/boy/one” does in the track “Lashes.” And like the lyrics, the piano melodies unfold repetitively, consistently. There is something so tranquil and reassuring about the EP in this way, like watching shallow waves on the beach keep coming forward and then receding. The lyrical echoes drape over Lamothe’s piano keys like chiffon— covering but not concealing the melodies.
It’s hard to imagine a teenager behind this voice. It’s mature and precise—Lamothe knows how to enunciate, phrase, and build through a song. Not only does he have killer pipes, but he also knows how to layer vocal harmonies; in “She Took Your Breath Away,” soft background vocals hum behind haunting lyrics about a mysterious “she.”
A total of six songs—each flowing into the next with a new piano phrase that carries throughout a song—make up this sophisticated EP. Although still sticking to a certain amount of minimalism as in his first EP, Lamothe says that his sound has developed along with his lyrics, which focus on emotion “related more to love and people and relationships.”
Honestly, if you want a pick-me-up, this probably isn’t the album for you. But if you want to explore the human experiences of someone who may be younger than you, but is full of expression and maturity all the same, take a 20-minute break from running through life to press play on Ten Tundra. Sit on the floor. Turn off the lights. Listen.
- Songs flow into each other
- Quiet acoustic sound
- Mature vocals
- Older style
- Simple piano melodies