CALLUM PITT – Single Review: “Mayfly”

Callum Pitt is a thoughtful and talented singer-songwriter based in Newcastle Upon Tyne in northeast England. Inspired by the music of such artists as Elliott Smith, Julien Baker, Adrianne Lenker, Sufjan Stevens, The War on Drugs and Fleet Foxes, he creates, in his own words, “indie-folk with a grand, orchestral, chamber pop sensibility plus an alt-rock edge”. His music is characterized by lush harmonies, captivating melodies, and honest, meaningful lyrics touching on subjects like depression and anxiety, and social and political unrest, delivered with his soft, pleasing vocals. In other words, his songs are beautiful.

He began writing and singing songs in this teens, performing in pubs and small venues in and around Newcastle. He released his wonderful debut single “You’d Better Sell It While You Can” in 2017, and in the years since, he’s dropped an impressive number of singles as well as a four-track EP Poisoned Reveries in 2019. His beautiful second single “Least He’s Happy” has been streamed more than two million times on Spotify, with several other singles garnering over 100,000 streams. He’s also earned accolades such as the Alan Hull Songwriting Award for songwriters in 2019, and participated in the Fender Player Plus competition in 2022.

Photos by Daniel Stark

I’ve previously reviewed two of Callum’s singles, both in 2020: “Fault Lines” (which spent 10 weeks on my Top 30 chart and ranks at #84 on my Top 100 Songs of 2020 list), and “Sea of Noise”. Now he’s back with his first new music in two years almost to the day, a lovely, deeply personal single “Mayfly“. The song was written and composed by Callum, who sang lead vocals and played acoustic and electric guitars and keyboards. Additional musicians performing on the track include Luke Elgie on bass, Gavin Christie on drums, John Martindale on percussion, Ada Francis and Jodie Nicholson on backing vocals, Alex Saxon, who wrote and played the saxophone line, and James Leonard Hewitson on trumpet. The track was co-produced by Callum and John Martindale, who also engineered and mixed it at Blank Studios. Mastering was done by Robin Schmidt.

The song is essentially about adulthood, and Callum’s feelings of apprehension over the responsibilities he’ll face as a potential parent, fearing he might not be up to the task: “I’m 28 now, eventually not feeling like a teenager anymore and probably will have my own children in a few years’ time. ‘Mayfly’ talks about that worry I have that living with anxiety and bouts of depression will mean I will never be able to provide that emotional stability that children will require. It’s quite a hopeful song though, as I still have a few years yet, and mainly talks about the ambition that I’ll be more emotionally stable and at peace as the years go by. I often look at people in their 30s and 40s and think they appear very at peace, but maybe there are always relative struggles and difficult things to overcome, and we always have to cherish the highs and know that the lows are inevitable.”

“Mayfly” has a lively, upbeat melody that contrasts with the poignant lyrics. One of the many things I like about the song is how each instrument is allowed to shine. With every new listen I hear little instrumental nuances, like the perfect melding of acoustic guitar notes and delicate piano chords in the verses, and how the drums become more intense in the choruses, accompanied by glorious exuberant riffs and swirling keyboards. Callum’s smooth vocals are both comforting and heartfelt, backed by Ada and Jodie’s lovely harmonies, and Alex’s bold saxophone in the final chorus is the icing on the musical cake. It’s another wonderful song by Callum.

The lovely video, filmed and directed by Sel MacLean, shows Callum singing the song in various indoor and outdoor settings in an around Newcastle.

Those of you in the UK can catch Callum at one of these upcoming shows:

Saturday, Nov 19 – The Common Room of the Great North, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Saturday, Nov 26 – Songs From Northern Britain @ The Georgian Theatre, Stockton-on-tees

Saturday, Dec 10 – Avoid Shit Xmas Parties, The Central, Gateshead

Connect with Callum:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase:  Bandcamp / Amazon

Top 30 Songs for November 15-21, 2020

  1. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (1)
  2. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (3)
  3. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (4)
  4. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (2)
  5. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (5)
  6. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (6)
  7. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (9)
  8. COME & GO – Juice WRLD featuring Marshmello (10)
  9. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior (11)
  10. IDENTICAL – Phoenix (13)
  11. TANGERINE – Glass Animals (14)
  12. THE LET GO – Elle King (15)
  13. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (7)
  14. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (8)
  15. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (12)
  16. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (19)
  17. AMOEBAS IN GLASS HOUSES – Moonlight Broadcast (18)
  18. BURN THE VISION – Amongst Liars (20)
  19. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (21)
  20. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (24)
  21. CAN I BELIEVE YOU – Fleet Foxes (25)
  22. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (17) 22nd week on list
  23. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (16)
  24. THINK I’M CRAZY – Two Feet (27)
  25. BEAUTIFUL ANYWAY – Judah & the Lion (26)
  26. SKIN AND BONES – Cage the Elephant (29)
  27. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (22)
  28. NERVOUS – Au Gres (30)
  29. LETTER TO YOU – Bruce Springsteen (N)
  30. TROUBLE’S COMING – Royal Blood (N)

Top 30 Songs for November 8-14, 2020

  1. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (2)
  2. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (1)
  3. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (3)
  4. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (4)
  5. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (7)
  6. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (8)
  7. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (5)
  8. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (6)
  9. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (10)
  10. COME & GO – Juice WRLD featuring Marshmello (11)
  11. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior (12)
  12. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (9)
  13. IDENTICAL – Phoenix (17)
  14. TANGERINE – Glass Animals (18)
  15. THE LET GO – Elle King (19)
  16. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (13)
  17. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (14) 21st week on list
  18. AMOEBAS IN GLASS HOUSES – Moonlight Broadcast (20)
  19. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (21)
  20. BURN THE VISION – Amongst Liars (22)
  21. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (23)
  22. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (15)
  23. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (16)
  24. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (27)
  25. CAN I BELIEVE YOU – Fleet Foxes (28)
  26. BEAUTIFUL ANYWAY – Judah & the Lion (26)
  27. THINK I’M CRAZY – Two Feet (30)
  28. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (24) 23rd week on list
  29. SKIN AND BONES – Cage the Elephant (N)
  30. NERVOUS – Au Gres (N)

New Song of the Week – CALLUM PITT: “Sea of Noise”

This past summer I had the pleasure of learning about the immensely talented young British singer-songwriter Callum Pitt when he reached out to me about his single “Fault Lines” (you can read my review here). A beautiful song with biting lyrics decrying governmental and media efforts to divide and polarize society, “Fault Lines” has enjoyed a 10-week run on my Weekly Top 30. The prolific artist has been releasing singles every two months in 2020, beginning in May with “Out of the Trees”, followed by “Fault Lines”, “Ghost” and now his latest, “Sea of Noise“, which I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week.

Based in Newcastle Upon Tyne in northeast England, Callum writes folk-inspired alternative and dream rock songs influenced by such great acts as The War on Drugs, Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes. With his soft, pleasing vocals, rich harmonies, captivating melodies and meaningful lyrics, he’s captured industry attention and built a growing fan base since the release in 2017 of his gorgeous first single “You’d Better Sell It While You Can.” His equally beautiful second single “Least He’s Happy” has been streamed nearly two million times on Spotify, an astonishing feat for an indie artist. 

About his latest single, released on October 6th by label Humble Angel Records, Callum explains “‘Sea of Noise’ alludes to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness while feeling surrounded by quite a lot of negative things. Despite this, it mainly discusses the importance of having a person (or activity) which takes your mind away from that mindset, keeps it away and gives a feeling of having a form of control in life.”

With “Sea of Noise” Callum delivers yet another outstanding track for our listening enjoyment. The song is beautiful, with a sweeping back and forth melody driven by a powerful stomping percussive beat, and accompanied by a lush mix of shimmery synths and moody strings. But the highlights for me are his gorgeous intricately-strummed chiming and jangly guitars and enchanting falsetto vocals. His voice nicely transitions with ease from a gentle tenderness to soaring passion as he sings of finding solace from the surrounding din through another’s support: “The colours were running from all this distortion in my head / The speakers were humming, circling feedback in our ears / Swept by the currents further until the choruses blurred and your shout was a murmur / Felt your tug away from the crowds ‘cause, everything always seems so loud / While we’re drifting in this sea of noise flooding in our ears and our eyes.”

Follow Callum:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase:  Amazon iTunes

Top 30 Songs for November 1-7, 2020

  1. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (1)
  2. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (4)
  3. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (5)
  4. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (6)
  5. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (2)
  6. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (3)
  7. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (8)
  8. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (9)
  9. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (7)
  10. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (11)
  11. COME & GO – Juice WRLD featuring Marshmello (14)
  12. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior 15)
  13. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (10)
  14. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (12)
  15. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (13)
  16. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (18)
  17. IDENTICAL – Phoenix (20)
  18. TANGERINE – Glass Animals (21)
  19. THE LET GO – Elle King (22)
  20. AMOEBAS IN GLASS HOUSES – Moonlight Broadcast (23)
  21. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (26)
  22. BURN THE VISION – Amongst Liars (27)
  23. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (29)
  24. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (17) 22nd week on list
  25. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (16)
  26. BEAUTIFUL ANYWAY – Judah & the Lion (28)
  27. FIRE FOR YOU – Cannons (N)
  28. CAN I BELIEVE YOU – Fleet Foxes (N)
  29. FOR SURE – Future Islands (19)
  30. THINK I’M CRAZY – Two Feet (N)

Top 30 Songs for October 25-31, 2020

  1. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (3)
  2. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (1)
  3. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (2)
  4. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (5)
  5. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (6)
  6. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (7)
  7. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (4)
  8. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (10)
  9. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (11)
  10. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (9)
  11. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (12)
  12. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (8)
  13. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (15)
  14. COME & GO – Juice WRLD featuring Marshmello (21)
  15. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior 22)
  16. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (13)
  17. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (14) 21st week on list
  18. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (19)
  19. FOR SURE – Future Islands (17)
  20. IDENTICAL – Phoenix (23)
  21. TANGERINE – Glass Animals (24)
  22. THE LET GO – Elle King (25)
  23. AMOEBAS IN GLASS HOUSES – Moonlight Broadcast (26)
  24. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (16)
  25. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (18)
  26. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (27)
  27. BURN THE VISION – Amongst Liars (28)
  28. BEAUTIFUL ANYWAY – Judah & the Lion (29)
  29. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (30)
  30. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (20)

Top 30 Songs for October 18-24, 2020

  1. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (1)
  2. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (2)
  3. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (4)
  4. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (5)
  5. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (6)
  6. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (7)
  7. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (8)
  8. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (3)
  9. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (12)
  10. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (17)
  11. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (18)
  12. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (14)
  13. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (9)
  14. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (10) 20th week on list
  15. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (16)
  16. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (11)
  17. FOR SURE – Future Islands (17)
  18. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (13)
  19. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (21)
  20. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (15)
  21. COME & GO – Juice WRLD featuring Marshmello (23)
  22. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior 24)
  23. IDENTICAL – Phoenix 25)
  24. TANGERINE – Glass Animals (26)
  25. THE LET GO – Elle King (27)
  26. AMOEBAS IN GLASS HOUSES – Moonlight Broadcast (28)
  27. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (29)
  28. BURN THE VISION – Amongst Liars (30)
  29. BEAUTIFUL ANYWAY – Judah & the Lion (N)
  30. VIRUS – Vanity Fear (N)

Top 30 Songs for October 11-17, 2020

  1. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (3)
  2. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (1)
  3. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (2)
  4. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (5)
  5. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (4)
  6. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (7)
  7. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (9)
  8. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (10)
  9. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (6)
  10. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (8)
  11. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (11)
  12. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (13)
  13. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (15)
  14. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (16)
  15. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (12)
  16. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (18)
  17. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (19)
  18. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (20)
  19. FOR SURE – Future Islands (17)
  20. BACK TO HIM – Soricah (14)
  21. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (21)
  22. HERO – Weezer (22)
  23. COME & GO – Juice WRLD & Marshmello (25)
  24. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior 26)
  25. IDENTICAL – Phoenix 27)
  26. TANGERINE – Glass Animals (28)
  27. THE LET GO – Elle King (29)
  28. AMOEBAS IN GLASS HOUSES – Moonlight Broadcast (30)
  29. VISITOR – Of Monsters and Men (N)
  30. BURN THE VISION – Amongst Liars (N)

Top 30 Songs for October 4-10, 2020

  1. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (1) 4th week at #1
  2. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (2)
  3. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (4)
  4. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (6)
  5. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (7)
  6. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (3)
  7. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (8)
  8. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (5)
  9. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (10)
  10. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (13)
  11. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (11)
  12. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (9)
  13. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (15)
  14. BACK TO HIM – Soricah (14)
  15. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (17)
  16. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (18)
  17. FOR SURE – Future Islands (19)
  18. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (20)
  19. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (23)
  20. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (24)
  21. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (21)
  22. HERO – Weezer (22)
  23. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (12) 22nd week on list
  24. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (16) 19th week on list
  25. COME & GO – Juice WRLD & Marshmello (30)
  26. MOOD – 24kGoldn featuring Iann Dior (N)
  27. IDENTICAL – Phoenix (N)
  28. TANGERINE – Glass Animals (N)
  29. THE LET GO – Elle King (N)
  30. AMOEBAS IN GLASS HOUSES – Moonlight Broadcast (N)

Top 30 Songs for September 27-October 3, 2020

  1. FEEL YOU – My Morning Jacket (1)
  2. MONSTERS – All Time Low featuring blackbear (3)
  3. CARDIGAN – Taylor Swift (2)
  4. MY OWN SOUL’S WARNING – The Killers (5)
  5. HALLUCINOGENICS – Matt Maeson (4)
  6. IT’S YOU – The Frontier (6)
  7. CAN I CALL YOU TONIGHT? – Dayglow (7)
  8. DOWNS – Roadkeeper (8)
  9. WATERMELON SUGAR – Harry Styles (10)
  10. IS IT TRUE – Tame Impala (11)
  11. MY FUTURE – Billie Eilish (13)
  12. BLACK & WHITE LOVE – Beating Hearts Club (9) 21st week on list
  13. BLOODY VALENTINE – Machine Gun Kelly (N)
  14. BACK TO HIM – Soricah (15)
  15. HOODIE UP – MISSIO (16)
  16. SOMEONE ELSE – Rezz & Grabbitz (12)
  17. WHAT YOU GONNA DO??? – Bastille featuring Graham Coxon (20)
  18. GIANTS – Dermot Kennedy (21)
  19. FOR SURE – Future Islands (22)
  20. FAULT LINES – Callum Pitt (23)
  21. FRIDAY NIGHT – Heist At Five featuring Francesca Confortini (25)
  22. HERO – Weezer (27)
  23. ARE YOU BORED YET? – Wallows featuring Clairo (29)
  24. MARIPOSA – Peach Tree Rascals (30)
  25. ZEN – X Ambassadors, K.Flay & grandson (14)
  26. HONEYBEE – The Head and the Heart (17)
  27. PSYCH FILM – Strangely Alright (18)
  28. HEAVEN IS HEART – Jaded Jane (19)
  29. I GOT YOU – Michael Franti & Spearhead (24)
  30. COME & GO – Juice WRLD & Marshmello (N)