CD Review

Call Me Alice – “All Against 5ive”

By Marcus Pan

All Against 5iveCall Me Alice first appeared on the scene as a novelty act of sorts – an elusive group who threw a big "virtual concert" in one of those online reality worlds where people went in to hang out as avatars that were cropping up all over the place. Legends reviewed their previous releases(1), including a demo(2) from back in 2000. I reviewed the demo myself and came out the end with a verdict that told of it being interesting – but somewhat gimmicky with a very garage feel. Not much in the way of production.

Fast forward...Call Me Alice kicks out All Against 5ive with just as much gimmick but a world's difference in production values. Solid mixing, talented musicians and a more professional appeal, CMA graduate into the world of big music. The folks in the band still use their monikers – Crosby (vocals), Epiphany (low freq. encryption?), Aughustine (melodic wire induction?), the Thrawn (percussion) and Jude (sonic simulation?) and they are still escapees from the mental institution where they claim to have started. Only this time they're better sounding all around.

Falling from the get go will shred in powerfully with Crosby's strong vocals and heavy riffing guitar work with enough electronics to keep things interesting without cliche'. It's one of the better goth rock tunes to show up this month. Out of Sight slows it down into a power ballad with beautiful vocal harmonies and solid make-up. Another great track – back then I wondered who Call Me Alice thought they were. Now I know they're one of the better goth rock staples out there and have lasted a lot longer than most of them for good reason.

One of my favorite recent basslines in System Backup. So far Call Me Alice goes three for there on All Against 5ive. Electrical Jesus I remember as one of their earlier singles. Modernized, given an injection of better mastering and just plain performed with the maturity they've earned since, and also a bit heavier if memory serves (which it might not, in which case pretend you didn't read this sentence – it's nearly 1AM). Finally, three remixes close off this album – one of which is Bald which doesn't have an original on this album for some reason. The Defrag Remix of System Backup however strips the guitars from the original and turns it into a trip-hop groove with Crosby rapping the lyrics... it's probably the best track on All Against 5ive.

Call Me Alice has done something that has become nigh on impossible to this 33 year old goth bassist. They've impressed me. Surpassing their last release in almost every possible way – from packaging to production, musicianship to rocking. Thanks to them for impressing me...I've been needing that for a long long time.

(1) 2000 was reviewed in Legends #111 and Sweet New Disease in the more recent Legends #135.
(2) Reviewed way back in Legends #95.
Contact Information:
Archive Records
Post: PO Box 83205, San Diego, CA, 92138-3205, USA