Our Carla returns with the 'So Much Better' 7", her first release since last year’s Top of The Pops covers tape, and her first original material since 2017’s The Garden EP, and it also happens to be the maiden voyage for her own Kallista label, envisioned as an outlet for contemporary deconstructed club sounds / neo-braindance. JOKES. The title track and A-side, ‘So Much Better’ seems to occupy, at first, a similar zone to her immaculate reimagining of Renee’s ‘Lay Me Down’ on TOTP... But while certain signature CDF motifs are firmly in place – spacewalk bassline, strafing mysteron synths and submerged, ricocheting snare hits – it’s not quite business as usual. The refined, startlingly intimate vocal style she unveiled to A+ effect on The Garden - its crisp diction and in-yr-ear intimacy a world away from the claggy distance and dissolve of You Know What It’s Like – becomes an offensive weapon here, as the lyrics move from dazed urban travelogue to a caustic, confrontational, unambiguously fuck-you-mate climax. Blimey. Incidentally this is probably the first, and undoubtedly the best, song in the history of recorded music to use the word “unseemly” – bo! Meanwhile anyone who felt stirrings of the second coming of trip-hop (NOT a dirty word) in Carla’s earlier work can witness its full flowering in instrumental B-side ‘Fever Walk’ - its scuffed breakbeat, moody keys and death-ray bass distortion reminding me of nothing so much as the Folk Implosion’s Kids score (!). SO MUCH BELTER.