Her Name Is Calla – Navigator (Function Records)

Her Name Is Calla – Navigator (Function Records)


Those who have followed the contours of Her Name Is Calla’s career since its conception in Leicester a decade ago and who now stand here on the eve of the launch of their third long player Navigator, will be reassured to know that the four traditional horseman of the band’s sonic apocalypse will be right there beside them. Epicism, Intensity, Grandiloquence and Ambition still remain as the cornerstones of the Her Name Is Calla blueprint. Manifesting their protean selves as post-modernists practised in the art of classicism, progressiveness and what might very loosely be described as rock, their silhouettes continue to appear on the quintet’s musical horizon.

Yet to that glorious template, a grand design in which guitar, keys and the heroic sweep of violin and cello are the fundamental parts, and upon which principal songwriter and reluctant commander-in-chief Tom Morris’s plaintive voice swoops and soars, they have now added greater economy of scale, more texture and the power of restraint. Where huge, sprawling musical pieces may once have been revealed in triptych, they are now largely distilled into the very essence of what are more conventional songs and in doing so Navigator manifests itself as Her Name Is Calla’s most accessible work to date.

For all that Navigator tells a tale of personal metamorphosis – an evolution from one stage in life to the next and all the feelings of loss this may engender – it is ultimately a story of hope. Even during the submersible misery of ‘Burial’, where Morris sounds at his most abject, clinging onto the mantra of “I don’t have choices, only anger” as if his very life depended upon it, there is cause for some very cautious optimism. The crashing instrumental waves of ‘Meridian Arc’ also seem to point towards the band’s inner strength and personal resilience whilst the contrasting gentle beauty of ‘It’s Called Daisy’, with its fleeting reminders of the ambient drone of Stars Of The Lid, is further evidence of fresh promise.

For all of Her Name Is Calla’s newly acquired control, the eleven minutes and forty seven seconds of the penultimate song ‘Dreamland’ shows that it is not all about moderation and that in their musical vocabulary the word Herculean is not entirely extinct  A huge, haunting, auditory catharsis it captures the very spirit of the album’s meaning as the song vacillates from emotional shipwreck – the cello appears to mimic the distant sound of a sinking vessel’s distress signal – towards the heavenly musical choir of individual and collective salvation. This is the sound of a band that has now reached a point of self-realisation and in Navigator Her Name Is Calla have produced a record of tremendous maturity and depth.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Navigator will be released via Function Records on May 5th 2014.

2014 Tour Dates

25th April – St. Pancras Old Church, London (ALBUM LAUNCH).

2nd May – Handmade Festival, Leicester

6th May – Soup Kitchen, Manchester

7th May – Stereo, Glasgow

8th May – Blue Room, Blackpool

10th May – All Saints Church, Cambridge

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.