BMG - 2004 - 55 minutes

It's hard to push The Calling into a musical genre. Perhaps soft rock sums up what they're about, but mostly you end up feeling that categorising the quintet limits their style too much.

Whatever their preferred pigeonhole, there's something so familiar about their music that it feels like they've been around for a very long time. Certainly they seem to have acquired a sense of maturity that doesn't quite fit their image. But while the audio and visuals may not always fuse, that unevenness doesn't make it through to the content of the album.

If there was a gripe to be made it would have to be that The Calling have such a definitive style there are very few differentiating features within the album, with the range of tracks breathing a certain similarity. As such this could inspire apathy. Somehow it does not and it becomes hard to find fault with any song on 'II'.

Tracks like 'Anything' and 'One By One' give a glimpse of the popular appeal we saw shine through with the band's hugely successful hit single 'Wherever You Will Go'. Maybe what gives this album such instant appeal is its simple, yet fiery, subject matter. It's filled with heartbreak, turmoil and fighting against the world - pure hardcore angst with just a tiny ray of hope thrown in for good measure. It works.

You won't shake these tracks from your memory, try if you might.

Linda McGee 

Tracklisting: One By One - Our Lives - Things Will Go My Way - Chasing The Sun - Believing - Anything - If Only - Somebody Out There - Surrender - Dreaming In Red - Your Hope - For You - London Calling