Animal Choir is Her Name Is Calla’s final album which makes me especially sad that this is my introduction to them because this record is gold. It is such an emotionally intense journey, every track tells a whole new story in a completely different way. The only real words for Animal Choir are emotional and powerful. Animal Choir is AOTY material for me for sure.
Every time I go through the album and hear a song I think to myself ‘this is my favourite song!’. But then the next track starts and I think the same thing all over again. Every single piece takes us on a ride through the emotional tundra of the band’s and the listener’s mind. There’s a huge variety of song types but they never feel like another band, it always feels like Her Name Is Calla.
Her Name Is Calla uses the alternative/art rock genre and amplifies it by squeezing in orchestration, cinematics, storytelling, post-rock, and many other styles. The first example of their masterful songwriting skills I want to focus on is “Kaleidoscoping”. This is an extremely slow and sad movement, but with a bit of patience and opening yourself up you can hear the layers subtly added in for extra emotion. It starts with melancholic piano and soft vocals. Once the first verse of lyrics has been sung the song starts its slow build up until the end of the six-minute track. I find this piece is able to open me up and strip away any armour I create around me.
Next up is “A Moment of Clarity”. It starts with melancholic piano… wait, didn’t I say this already! Okay, jokes aside, this has a slow start but kicks into a full band pretty quickly. One thing I noted is that this track reminds me of a more ambitious “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” by Radiohead. That happens to be my favourite Radiohead tune so that’s a definite win for me. The song intensifies throughout while the lines ‘And that sound is the crunch of the human spirit breaking’ is yelled. Where “Kaleidoscoping” was melancholic by nature, “A Moment of Clarity” gets the heart pumping with the power it brings.
One of the closing tracks “Bloodline” is a retrospective look on how life got us to where we are now. There’s an atmosphere of an impending change in the air, a quiet reflection on things to come. That is until the repeated words ‘I don’t want to be a part of this’ are sung over and over. “Bloodline” shifts in tonality slightly as a lone guitar strums some chords leading into the band stepping in to help. For whatever reason, the post-rock sound here rings of finality. ‘I’ll see you in the next life‘ is the statement closing out the track – in a showing of peace before starting the next chapter.
Her Name Is Calla has of course been talked about before here at Everything Is Noise in which Melancholy was the main topic – you can find that here. If grand, emotional, sweeping songs are your thing then please listen to Animal Choirs. Like I mentioned earlier, this is the last album we’re getting from Her Name Is Calla so we should all do ourselves a solid and explore their discography until our tears run dry.