Over the course of eight years and five albums, Calla has morphed from a largely electronic studio outfit carving out urbane mood pieces to an indie rock force creating no less adventurous and otherworldly music. The band’s fifth and latest record, Strength in Numbers (Beggars), is a dish best served cold, Aurelio Valle’s chilled vocals and icy guitar centering the album’s 13 cuts. Where Calla’s previous effort, Collisions, glittered with flying emotional sparks, Strength is a more sedate affair, though of no less brilliance. Valle’s six-string spray is tethered to the atmospherics the band erects, and the overall effect is like the calm before the storm, striking moments marked by a sense of something else looming. “Rise” is awash in desert colors, and “Bronson” shows noir pop hues. Elsewhere, “La Gusta El Fuego” is a darkened dream haunted with tones of luminaries like the Gun Club and Loop. Even when keeping their sonic hysterics in check, Calla shows the underlying limitless capacity to everything they do, and Strength in Numbers is powerful evidence.
Locals the Black Canary open.
MP3: “Bronson” by Calla