We are the choices that we make.
Caracal is a rock band from Singapore that is a bit of a rarity. At a time when most musicians seem obsessed with sounding new, important or relevant, Caracal prefers to look inward, always making sure that every note and lyric stays true to who they are as a band and as individuals.
This devotion to brutal honesty forms the spine of their music – a ferocious mix of colossal riffs, catchy melodies and epic choruses. Since forming in 2007, they’ve been likened to bands like Thrice, Brand New, Emery, Norma Jean and Envy On The Coast – compliments they will gladly play down.
But one need only look at their sweat-drenched, frenetic and emotionally-draining live displays to understand why. The intensity applies to everything they do, triggering a deeply loyal fanbase, huge shoutalongs and the frequent mosh during their live shows. It is also this trademark that has seen them open for massive acts like Funeral For A Friend, Anberlin, Underoath and The Used.
Through releases like the ‘Phoenix’ EP, ‘Bear. Shark. Wolf.’ and now, their latest full-
length ‘Welcome The Ironists’, Caracal has never stopped growing. Their first LP ‘Bear. Shark. Wolf.’ was intriguingly aggressive and raw. Not unlike the passion of a reckless young man, hell-bent on baring his flesh wounds, fresh for all to see. Now, that rawness and aggression seem tempered by the many hard lessons learnt, one of which was coping with their bassist’s departure a short few months before ‘Welcome The Ironists’ was to be recorded.
This emotional weight, armed with their honesty and fluid songwriting, makes ‘Welcome The Ironists’ Caracal’s most cohesive and affecting album to date. The 10 songs sound gritty and dynamic, with special care taken by the band not to overwork nor over-polish the music with a ton of extra guitars or keys.
“We are the choices that we make.” These lyrics off their latest album may sound cliché in someone else’s voice, but feels truthfully weighted in the distinctive snarled wail of frontman K.C. Meals. Burdened yet hopeful, it sums up the quiet strength of a very tight-knit, humble band. Many of these struggles, they would prefer to keep it to themselves, to keep it within the family.
Since its birth in a makeshift church, Caracal has gone through only a few line-up changes – no small feat for a band that is close to a decade of music-making. It’s evident that camaraderie is a quality they hold very dear.
As such, Caracal’s charm is simple. It has always been a band that makes its music as a whole. A band for the very, very long haul. The kind where bandmates grow into tattooed godparents to each other’s kids, and remain a towering presence in one another’s lives.
And it shows. Through all their little battles quietly won, out comes a loud, booming voice that is honest and unashamed from the first note to the last.
“We are ok if it doesn’t sound in, as long as it sounds us.”
Maybe that’s why so many of us believe in everything Caracal has to say.
Album Title: Phoenix EP
Release Date: July 2009
Catalogue No.: Self-Released
Album Title: Bear.Shark.Wolf. CDLP
Release Date: Jan 2011
Catalogue No.: Self-Released
Album Title: Bear.Shark.Wolf. Reissue CDLP
Release Date: Jun 2012
Catalogue No.: KWR013
Album Title: Welcome the Ironists CDLP
Release Date: Dec 2014
Catalogue No.: KWR018