Carla Dal Forno - You Know What It's Like LPLabel: Blackest Ever Black (UK)
2017 repress. LP version. Carla dal Forno presents her debut solo album You Know What It's Like, following time in cult Melbourne group Mole House and an earlier association with Blackest Ever Black as a member of F ingers and Tarcar. Her voice is an extraordinary instrument: both disarmingly conversational and glacially detached. It has something of the bedsit urbanity of Anna Domino, Marine Girls, Antena, or Helen Johnstone - stoned and deadpan - but it can also summon a gothic intensity that Nico or Kendra Smith would approve of. This voice is the perfect embodiment of dal Forno's emotionally ambiguous songs: their lyrics rooted in the everyday, observing and exposing a series of uncomfortable truths. "Fast Moving Cars" and "What You Gonna Do Now?" weigh up claustrophobia against loneliness, inertia against acceleration, doubling-down versus taking-off; the title track acknowledges the provisional nature of love and "real" intimacy, then decides to brave it anyway. By the time the startlingly sparse "The Same Reply" arrives, the sense of dejection is absolute. The vocal-led pieces are interspersed with richly evocative instrumentals. Smothered in tape-hiss and reverb, the seasick synthesizer miniatures "Italian Cinema" and "Dragon Breath" channel the twilit DIY whimsy of Flaming Tunes and Call Back The Giants. The drum machine and bassline of "DB Rip" are pure Chicago house, but then its dark choral drones nod to Dalis Car's dreams of blood-spattered Cornwall stone. "Dry The Rain" drinks from a stream of moon-musick that runs through Coil, In Gowan Ring, Third Ear Band, even the Raincoats's Odyshape (1981).