REVIEW: Calpurnia – Scout

Release date: June 15, 2018

Scout by Vancouver 4-piece Calpurnia (bonus points for the double To Kill A Mockingbird reference) will undoubtedly receive plenty of attention because of band member Finn Wolfhard’s acting roles in Stranger Things and It. In fact, promotional materials for Scout proclaim that its lead single, ‘City Boy,’ quickly hit 2 million streams on Spotify.

The question remains as to whether Calpurnia’s music can live up to the hype. The band members are certainly competent, but in all honesty, this 6-song release is a little lightweight. There are definitely some encouraging elements and a certain lo-fi charm, but I was left with the sense that Calpurnia (whose members are aged between 15 and 17) still has some developing to do.

After having seen Wolfhard in some PUP music videos, I (not necessarily logically) expected this to be a punk release, but it’s actually a much lighter, guitar-pop sound. To my mind, the act Calpurnia most closely resembles is British singer-songwriter Jake Bugg. The vibe is retro, almost like someone applied an Instagram filter to the tracks. Scout is mellow, slightly psychedelic, and very summery — but ultimately, forgettable.

The highlight of the record is definitely Ayla Tesler-Mabe’s lead guitar, which is dynamic throughout. It elevates Calpurnia’s tracks and is one of the signs that Scout is merely a stepping stone for the band. These four high-school friends will — and should — continue making music and growing as they do.

Recorded with Twin Peaks’ Cadien Lake James, Scout by Calpurnia is released by Royal Mountain Records on June 15, 2018. You can order the record on CD, coloured vinyl and picture disc via the label’s website.