Those fine fellows Her Name Is Calla are shortly to embark upon a welcome European and UK tour. It would be well worth anyone’s time and cash to run along to any (or indeed all if that were possible) of their up coming dates. Full dates can be found on the obligatory FB page , but of course I must give a shout out for the Bristol show at the Croft with support from To Bury a Ghost. (grovelling apologies for not mentioning/forgetting/wasn’t sure it was for definite blah blah, that the mighty Bravo Brave Bats will also be at the Croft alongside TBAG and HNIC – – makes it even more unmsisible – get those tickets bought!) I assume that in order to mark the occasion, they have been busy in the studio and will be releasing an EP, Maw, that will be available at the dates as well as on download, and indeed they are previewing each of the three tracks on successive Mondays via their Soundcloud site for the EP.
The three track EP is a veritable mini-smorgasbord of different aspects of HNIC. well title track, Maw, is a real turn up for the book! Eerily like a single length track, the insistent drum track and dirty guitar creates (shock) an almost toe tapping sound. At around 1’30” the sound is redolent of early era Black Sabbath (someone has been digging through someone’s back catalogue deep in a dark bedroom ), then the horns kick in and reclaim the track for HNIC territory. This could so easily have been extended to a much longer track but it wisely finishes short and sharp, leaving a slightly breathless listener – excellent stuff indeed.
The elegantly titled The Beat That My Heart Skipped is a languid and lazy affair , with a quite beautiful guitar section at around 43″, heralding the start of the slightly aching violin of Sophie (particularly so in the later sections). There are nice up front vocals from Tom and deftly pitched harmonies. A quite beautiful track and an especially delicately wrought three and a half minutes.
Dreamlands, at eleven plus minutes, is a more familiar HNIC track length, a mini suite all of its own, with Toms falsetto range vocal over the top of the picked guitar and string pulse for the first section. The second section is introduced by its distrested and distorted instruments, the sound of a slumbering, captured underground beast, before the tremulous vocals and strings add an ethereal choral quality. This middle section is possibly the most successful, but is swept away by the distortion that takes you away and into the third and final section with Toms vocal preoccupation with graves suspended over the picked guitars repeated refrain. The addition of Sophie’s harmonies and violin adds depth and colour and brings the piece towards is swirling final stage before the track gradually fades into the mist and out of sight.
Dreamlands has that haunting and haunted quality of some HNIC tracks, the sense of loss and longing wrapped in the orchestral structure. But the two other tracks here manage to pack a punch (albeit very different ones) in much shorter time-scales. Maw and The Beat… have a freshness and spontaneity about them, respectively almost toe-tapping and melancholia that is refreshing and welcome. I love a long and evolving piece as my prog antecedents will testify, but it is great to see two different approaches so successfully employed here.