Her Name Is Calla

The Quiet Lamb

Written by: DR on 25/12/2010 00:17:37

Now for my last promo of 2010 (until PP slips a few more my way in January), and I've decided, as my 'gift' to you, the reader, to make sure it's one that's worth your while. I give you Her Name Is Calla, with their very first full-length, "The Quiet Lamb" (assuming "The Heritage" was meant as an EP - it's fifty minutes long!). If you know not of this band, they are a five-piece from Leeds, have been around since 2004, and are, to put it simply, one of the most challening bands in the UK.

But what makes them challening? Well, for a start "The Quiet Lamb" is 75 minutes long. They don't make it easy to get into, either, with only three songs out of twelve lasting around the three-minute mark, and even then two of those are "Intervals". Oh yeah, it's definitely not one of those pick-up-play type albums that's immediately accessible; no, if you want the rewards of it you will have to put the time in to their not-quite-post-rock-not-quite-indie-not-quite-experimental brand of music. As for influences, I can hear a little of Mogwai and a little of Radiohead here, but with five members playing thirteen different instruments (including the triangle!), Her Name Is Calla don't sound much like anyone, really.

The key to Her Name Is Calla's sound, and probably the thing that will scare a lot of people off, is how patient it is. They have a clear vision of what they're trying to convey through their soundscapes, and because the members can all play a variety of instruments, they can choose the most appropriate ones at the prime moments, waiting for the perfect opportunity for maximum effect - when they can add something to the soundscapes

Opener "Moss Giant" soaks itself in ambience, like that of an empty room, while occasionally a piano slowly plays, offering, through how beautiful it is played, brief moments of hope for what's to come. Following track "A Blood Promise" is one of the best here, probably because I fucking love Jeff Buckley and Thom Morris's powerful performance, much like Buckley at his best, is dripping with emotion.

"Condor and River" is the album centrepiece as it lasts seventeen minutes, but it's also the most 'epic' track in scope not only on here, but in their discography. It starts out with instrospective guitar-work, slowly building up for the drums to crash in, all of which ushers towards noisy post-rock, before ending with Thom's sweeping vocals. Three part "The Union:" closes the album with ...Calla... delving into noisier, dare I say post-metal-esque tendancies, but always maintaining the expansive ambience that dominates the record. "Pour More Oil" is arguably the album highlight, again Morris is operating at Buckley heights, but as this song builds towards the ending it is Sophie Green on violin and Thom Corah on trombone that really push the song into other-wordly realms.

Records like this do not come around very often; so few bands, and none I've heard in the UK, show such vast ambition and manage to reel it in with creative execution. The fact that it's so challening is a good thing, for if it wasn't so challenging it wouldn't be as rewarding, and it's one of the most rewarding musical experiences 2010 has offered us.

Download: Pour More Oil, Condor and River, The Union: Into The West, A Blood Promise
For The Fans of: Radiohead, Mogwai, a darker Sigur Ros, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 22.10.2010
Denovali Records

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