Currently split between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., emerging indie duo Casual War — Maria Law (vocals) and Erik Mattingly (guitar) — have been playing together since 2018. The duo initially made a name for themselves playing clubs in Milwaukee and D.C., before gradually evolving their sound towards a dreamier, desert rock-inspired sound — with the duo continuing work on the project remotely.
Earlier this year, I wrote about “No Help,” a cathartic and anthemic song built around a classic, grunge rock song structure — dreamy contemplative verses with shimmering guitar lines and stormy choruses with buzzing and distortion pedaled power chords. And at the heart of the song is Law’s plaintive, power house vocals singing lyrics about a reckless, terrifying and dangerous love — the sort of love that burns out quickly and leaves you a devastated and heartbroken shell.
The bi-coastal duo’s latest single, the gauzy and slow-burning “Promontory” featuring shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars paired with Law’s achingly plaintive vocals, glistening synths and hand clap-led percussion that builds up to a stormy climax that’s reminiscent of PJ Harvey.
As the duo explain “Promontory” is about “taking the last step from a broken past and the first step toward an uncertain future. It’s the moment right before you decide whether to take a leap of faith.”