February 18, 2014 - The Native Sound
Whirr have employed a number of female vocalists throughout their ever-changing catalog. One of the latest was Kristina Esfandiari, who appeared on Whirr's dissonant 2013 EP, Around. She's struck out on her own since and kept the tunes coming in rapid succession: Last year, she released a single with her band King Woman, then adopted the Miserable namesake for herself and split a debut EP with shoegazey up-and-comers Grey Zine. Halloween Dream is her most substantial offering yet, and it's the most immersive and rewarding. The aptly titled EP's an arresting thousand-yard stare of dreary atmosphere that basically sounds like a full band at work; it puts her in good company with fellow droning genre-mashers like Chelsea Wolfe and True Widow. Every track's got something special about it: opener "Bell Jar" finishing with a sudden but mesmerizing climax of militaristic drum rolling and black metal barking; Esfandiari hypnotically, beautifully smearing her voice across "Orchid" and the closing, thumping title track, which hints at her shoegaze past; and "Spinning" integrating her shadowy folk side. It's concise, diverse, and rather alluring, and sets the bar high for whatever she might roll out next.