Folky post-rock indie loiners Her Name is Calla have come a-knockin’ again with new EP The Dead Rift. With its dramatic violin and fuzz bass, the opening song of the same name doesn’t sound so far from an indie version of Radiohead’s ‘Burn the Witch’, but Tom Morris’ distinctive vocal style and other energetic flourishes make it clear who’s playing. Includes a bonus vinyl-only song.
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Over time Her Name Is Calla have moved away from a bleeding-heart post-rock sound in favour of the sway of the times, going in on traditional songs, windswept landscapes of folk and a more direct kind of dread. On ‘The Dead Rift’, they’re trembling messes, singing chaos through songs that bristle and overshare. The record’s eponymous opener is an absolute revelation, its desperate march of psych folk reaching for emo melodic guitars and a Western kinda energy. With unsustainable energy marching with him, Tom Morris breaks through the song’s structure and rattles off a stream-of-consciousness state of panic, tearing up the plan for something that’s instead brilliant in its melodrama.
They sound revitalised, but the come down is in sight: instead of returning into themselves, the band offer a strummed shanty ballad, the wonderful “Regrounding”. It sounds like a ship come to wreck, its nimble picking eventually exploding into woeful wails and distraught piano repetitions. Wearing their heart on their sleeve in this particular fashion suits them in spades, their music simply pouring out of them, with all the melodies crafted becoming blood-lettings.
It’s this side of them I favour, the distress signals, but their orchestration is still winning on tracks like “Phosphenes” -- here they sound like the stagnating Dirty Three meeting the messy classical instrumentation of Rachel’s, amping up the doom to new levels of hell. Whether you’re into Calla or not, this is a brief experiment that looks at different ways to play out their sound and devour it. Worth your ears.
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