Banishing Ritual


Liv Willars (guitar) and Jen Calleja (drums) met while living in Brighton via Richard Phoenix of Sauna Youth -- a band Jen would join soon after -- and pretty much immediately promised to start a band with each other when they had both fulfilled plans to move to London. They performed as a duo for nearly two years before Heather Perkins (of Slowcoaches) joined on bass after she moved from Nottingham to London in 2014. Initially inspired by the addictive quality of the motoric Cold Pumas and jagged doom of Vision Fortune alongside the otherworldly radio pop of Ariel Pink, Feature's first release was a four-track demo recorded by Richard Phoenix and released on Lindsay Corstorphine's (also of Sauna Youth) tape label Cazenove Tapes. This was followed by The Culture Of The Copy EP released by Sheffield label Tye Die Tapes (2014). Self-described as melodic-punk and drone-pop, on their debut album Banishing Ritual, they strike from bare, menacing punk to harmonious post-punk to blisteringly fast garage-pop to ponderous instrumentals, showing not only their overlapping music tastes, but also how the band has gained broad influences over the years, representative of the diversity of the UK DIY scene from Joey Fourr to Good Throb. Calleja's lyrics are sparse narratives: a love song for a twin consumed in the womb, the stalking of a doppelganger, a rallying cry against the lack of belief in women's ability to be artists, a tongue-in-cheek look at jealousy and bitter competitiveness. Though Calleja provides a leading vocal throughout, all three members sing on most songs to create unmatchable and unexpected vocal harmonies, plus friend and fellow London DIY musician Joey Fourr provides his immense vocal range on two tracks. The band has always been vocal and present on issues regarding women in the DIY scene and wrote/co-wrote a number of essays on themes including sexism in music journalism, musical influence, non-musician roles bodied by women in the music industry, and the representation of women on mainstream versus DIY bills, which was published by Pitchfork.