# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Her Name is Calla - The Quiet Lamb

  by Mark Rowland

published: 14 / 11 / 2010

Her Name is Calla - The Quiet Lamb
Label: Denovali Records
Format: CD


Daramatic and ambitous second album from epic-toned Leicester-based band, Her Name is Calla

Leicester’s Her Name is Calla are difficult to categorise, which is no good for music journalists – we love to put things in pigeonholes. Many just label them post-rock, which seems to have become a lazy blanket term for any music that deviates from the traditional rock song structure. 'The Quiet Lamb', the band’s second album, comes two years after debut ‘The Heritage’, and is even more ambitious in scale. While their debut album spans 50 minutes and six tracks, this is a 10-track, 75-minute epic, divided by two additional instrumental ‘intervals’. Atmospherically and vocally, the band has something in common with bands like Radiohead. There’s an unsettling sense to their music, something melancholic, affecting, but ultimately satisfying. The scope of Her Name is Calla’s ambition and inventiveness is impressive, but it would be nothing without the tunes to back it up. Luckily, ‘The Quiet Lamb’ has that. Opener ‘Moss Giant’ is based around a piano progression that wouldn’t be out of place in a romantic period composition. ‘A Blood Promise’ is more typical of the band’s sound, with its plucked guitars, strings, horns and Tom Morris’ mournful wail. The song builds to a crescendo before crashing to a halt, leaving the strings to bring it to an end, almost flowing directly into ‘Pour More Oil’, which builds on the tone set by ‘A Blood Promise’. The dynamic shifts throughout the song are subtle, building it up gradually bringing it down a notch, taking it up again. After the dusty sounding ‘Interval One’ comes the album’s first real epic, the 17-minute ‘Condor and River’. It’s a slow starter, with a good two minutes of sparse, slow guitar before it settles into a recognizable motif. Never has a harmonica sounded as eerie as on this track, a faint sound that pierces through the guitars. The full band comes in about four minutes in, and that’s when you realize it is worth the wait. The track builds, shifts, builds some more, its rolling drums giving it the feel of a march, then a charge, before the track becomes very loud indeed without losing the drama of its melody and chords. It is probably the track where the post-rock tag is most appropriate, at least for its first half. The crunch and noise gives way to piano halfway in, and Morris’ vocals finally make an appearance at minute nine. The change in tone and approach is surprising, and though the track might take a little too long to get going, it’s still an impressive piece of work. ‘Long Grass’ is a folkier sounding song, though it sounds more like some obscure eastern European folk than it does Bob Dylan. The short ‘Homecoming’ has a similar sound and feel, its music box quality inadvertently bringing to mind the theme music from 'The Clangers', although it is testament to the band that it can evoke old children’s TV music and still maintain that melancholic and unsettling feel. The final three tracks (coming after the second interval) make up a larger piece, ‘The Union’, which collectively lasts just under 19 minutes. ‘The Union I – I Worship A Golden Sun’ is drum heavy, the vocals distorted and distant, augmented with shimmering organ, fuzzy synths and strings. A chorus of voices sings the track’s title repeatedly, before the track builds into a dense wall of sound. Part two, ‘Recidivist’, starts like mystic-tinged incidental music before screeching feedback cuts through the middle of it. The track repeatedly threatens to break the tension it has build and become something more musically memorable, but never becomes more than noise. That said, it is an unnerving noise that provokes an emotional response, even if that reaction is discomfort; perhaps that was its aim all along. Part three, ‘Into the West’ seems positively bright after the ugliness of ‘Recidivist’. It’s like Radiohead doing the theme to a Western movie, and it’s great; its relative optimism a fitting end to a big and dramatic album.

Track Listing:-
1 Moss Giant
2 A Blood Promise
3 Pour More Oil
4 Interval 1
5 Condor And River
6 Long Grass
7 Homecoming
8 Thief
9 Interval 2
10 The Union: I Worship A Golden Sun
11 The Union: Recidivist
12 The Union: Into The West

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