Lisbon-based singer-songwriter Calmness is a wunderkind. Having once found refuge in so-called ‘emo music’, they fashion a woozy sound that unfurls itself as a place of solace.
In their teenage years, Gui Galão, aka Calmness, moved their studies to one side in favour of learning to play guitar, synthesisers, and to produce, mix, and record. Simultaneously exploring their non-binary, queer identity, music became a haven for working through their struggles with mental health in a period of self-growth and acceptance.
Soon, Calmness released their debut album, Lavender, in 2017, with Galão describing the project as “a therapeutic album [that] allowed me to let everything haunting my head out.” Across 8 tracks, close comparisons were made to several of their musical inspirations, including the candid lyricism of Phoebe Bridgers, the Americana indie of Hovvdy, and the sonic ambition of Modern Baseball.
Continuing to forge their own brand of spacious indie-pop, “Angel” encapsulates everything that listeners have come to expect from Calmness – with introspection, sensitivity, and nuance aplenty.
A cliché nickname for lovers, “Angel” takes the notion of securing a romance with titles and sweet nothings all the while turning it on its head. Often using warm yet dulled, guitar-led backdrops as a canvas to explore their emotions, Calmness laments on emotional unavailability as they sing – “Why did you call me angel when we ruled out that spell? / We’re nothing like strangers, I think I know you pretty well”.
Speaking on the track, they share “‘Angel’ is a song about someone breaking the boundaries that they put on me. I was in love with them, and they just wanted to be my friend but kept going on with the mixed signals and calling me by names they said we couldn’t call each other. It’s about being in love with someone emotionally unavailable who still craves your attention and treats you differently.”
The track is set to feature on Calmness’ upcoming album don’t ask if i’m okay. “This new record dives into three different past relationships and explores the feelings of miscommunication, unmatched expectations, and accepting what you’re given by someone you love,” shares Galão.