£16.99Carla dal Forno announces her second full-length album, Look Up Sharp , on her own Kallista records. Dal Forno beckons a bold new era in her peerless output pushing her dub-damaged DIY dispatches to the limits of flawless dream-pop.Visit product page →
In a transformative move towards crystal clear vocals and sharpened production, Look Up Sharp is an evolutionary leap from the thick fog and pastoral stillness of her Blackest Ever Black missives, You Know What Itâ€™s Like (2016) and The Garden EP (2017). Three years since her plain-speaking debut album, the Melbourne-via-Berlin artist finds herself absorbed in Londonâ€™s sprawling mess.
The small-town dreams and inertia that preoccupied dal Fornoâ€™s first album have dissolved into the chaotic city, its shifting identities, far-flung surroundings and blank faces. Look Up Sharp is the story of this life in flux, longing for intimacy, falling short and embracing the unfamiliar.
Dal Forno connects with kindred spirits and finds refuge in darkened alleys, secret gardens and wherever else she dares to look. In her own territory between plaintive pop, folk and post-punk dal Forno conjures the ghosts of AC Marias, Virginia Astley and Broadcast through her brushwork of art-damaged fx and spectral atmospheres.
The first half of the record is filled with dubbed-out humid bass lines, which tether stoned hazes of psychedelic synth work as on â€˜Took A Long Timeâ€™ and â€˜No Trace.â€™ These are contrasted with songs like â€˜Iâ€™m Conscious and â€˜So Much betterâ€™ that channel the lilting power of YMG and are clear sequels-in-waiting to dead-eyed classics like â€˜Fast Moving Cars.â€™
The B-side begins with the feverish bass and meandering melody of â€˜Donâ€™t Follow Me,â€™ which takes The Cureâ€™s â€˜A Forestâ€™ as its conceptual springboard. Itâ€™s the clearest lyrical example since â€˜The Gardenâ€™ of dal Fornoâ€™s unmatched ability to unpick the masculine void of post-punk and new wave nostalgia to reflect contemporary nuance. Look Up Sharp reaches its satisfying conclusion with â€˜Push Onâ€™ - dal Fornoâ€™s most explicit foray into an undiscovered trip hop universe between Massive Attack and Tracey Thorn.
The albumâ€™s last gasp finds personal validation in fragility: â€˜I push on / Iâ€™m the Place Iâ€™m Going,â€™ a self discovery lifted by reverberant broken beats and glass-blown vocals. Adding further depth to Look Up Sharp are the instrumentals, which flow seamlessly between the vocal-led pieces. â€˜Hype Sleepâ€™ and â€˜Heart of Heartsâ€™ drink from the same stream as The Flying Lizardâ€™s dubbed-out madness and the vivid purple sunsets of Enoâ€™s Another Green World. While â€˜Creep Out of Bedâ€™ and â€˜Leaving for Japanâ€™ funnel the fourth-world psychedelia of Cyclobeâ€™s industrial-folk into the vortex of Nicoâ€™s The Marble Index.
Conceived as a whole, Look Up Sharp is a singular prism in which light, sound and concept bend at all angles. A deeply personal but infinitely relatable album its many surfaces are complex but authentic, enduring but imperfect, hard-edged but delicate. A diamond. Look up sharp or youâ€™ll miss it.
1. No Trace
2. Hype Sleep
3. So Much Better
4. Leaving For Japan
5. I'm Conscious
6. Don't Follow Me
7. Heart of Hearts
8. Took A Long Time
9. Creep Out of Bed
10. Push On