The Melbourne-born, Berlin-based musician boasts a vast range of influences in her sonic repertoire. There’s the foundation of post-punk, and its industrial, blasé landscape, and then the adornments of psych muddled with warped effects of dub (along with an affinity for drum machines to propel a chugging beat, almost as an homage to house music). According to her label, Blackest Ever Black, this is an album for “inbetween days, and occupies inbetween states,” and it’s a phrase that shows they know their artist. You Know What It’s Like is an array of songs that feel as if the ferocity and unpredictability of the wild were packed neatly into a glass case. It rumbles beneath the surface, with us well aware that the slightest crack can have the untamed seep into our sedated, sleepy surface.
"Italian Cinema" kicks off the LP, with the scattered notes of a slightly off-key piano dotting a landscape that feels imbued both by a hovering UFO and the hum of cicadas and crickets on a dewy evening. It’s the kind of ambient electronic sound that's prime for misty nights as we veer into late October, a haunted house soundtrack perfected for Halloween. "Dry in the Rain" has a moodier, pensive air about it. There’s hollow percussion and a floating, flute-like note revolving around a metallic twinkle. It’s a slow, relatively sparse track—dal Forno’s apathetic, airy trill carries a lyric-less note, that when paired with the woodwind’s fluttering pitch feels like a lulling call from the Pied Piper. And we follow.
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The title track, "You Know What It’s Like," opens with a distorted, wind-chime sort of jingling before the drums kick in with a relentlessly steady beat. Carla dal Forno’s voice is far off on the apathetic end of the spectrum—a chant that could very well be conjuring the kind of revenge she references. It’s a ritual of a woman scorned, and you practically see the skies turn grey as the clouds billow in. Her words are an incantation. In interviews, dal Forno has noted that the kind of vengeful power the song suggests is not something she’d ever personally vie for. For her, it's simply a fun, artistic concept to explore beside a haunting melody.
Her album consistently demonstrates an otherworldly ambiance that seems to have one last root grounded on our earth. It’s as if she’s shining a light on the uncanny that surrounds us, the supernatural we’ve always suspected was hiding just out of sight. After a listen, you might just have an inkling of the message she’s sending out into the ether, and perhaps you'll give a knowing nod the next time she intones, You Know What It’s Like.