Review of Maw EP by Her Name Is Calla

Her Name Is Calla are experts in the art of emotion fuelled painting with music. They are a band with the ability to conjure a divine, beautiful soundscape of peace and tranquillity and immediately tear it down with the crunching anxiety of distortion-ridden post rock; 'Maw' is a sterling, unusually snappy example of the latter.

Her Name Is Calla Maw EP

Opening with fuzzy guitars, 'Maw' declares an immediate anxiety and urgency which rises into sections of distorted fury before Her Name Is Calla's distinctive violin and trombone join the blend, easing to an interception of an instrumental breath of fresh air. There is certainly more of a determined urgency about 'Maw' in contrast to some of Her Name Is Calla's more peaceful numbers, B-side 'The Beat That My Heart Skipped', for example, which showcases a contrasting, downtempo, gentle, sombre vibe with subtle guitar and delicate vocals accompanied by brushed snare and occasional suggestions of string harmonies. 'The Beat That My Heart Skipped' gradually builds throughout with hints of piano and fuller cello and violin melodies, into a stunning chorus with multi-part vocal harmonies; heartfelt and moving whilst remaining relatively thin throughout in terms of texture.

'Dreamlands', the twelve-minute final track on this release, is a distinctive, symphonic-like soundscape that really shows Her Name Is Calla off to their best; the band create an eerie feel from maintaining the down-tempo nature of 'The Beat That My Heart Skipped' with beautiful vocals over acoustic guitars and low rumbling cello. Around the two and a half minute mark, the track breaks into a wall of distorted fuzz, like a train hurtling into the foreground at considerable pace. The crescendo of fuzz then descends into an eerie instrumental soundscape, a sonic dreamscape, with low guitar, double bass and a rippling cymbal roll which swells to heavily reverberated layers of vocals and violin. This epitomises Her Name Is Calla; they have this amazing ability to create beautiful and powerful harmonies, phenomenal music, and to give them space within themselves to ooze, echo, breathe, before they intercept with a contrasting scene, in this case another wall of distorted fuzz. Picked guitars then emerge delicately from the noise joined by Tom Morris' distinctive vocals and later smooth and soothing supporting female backing vocals; the track builds more and more with layers of strings and so on before fading to nothingness to conclude.

Think Radiohead, think Mogwai, think an intense and powerful barrage of emotion incorporating both ends of the audio spectrum and a unique, cinematic, climactic snapshot of what's in-between. Her Name Is Calla have done it again; masterpiece.

Hannah Spencer

Site -