Posted by: will | May 24, 2007


Calla “Strength In Numbers” (Beggars Banquet)

Buy it at Insound!

I love Calla. Still, to this day, one of the best shows I have ever seen was the band at New Brookland Tavern here in Columbia circa 2003. I swear there were less than twenty people at the venue and that is probably a generous count. However, that had no effect on the band as they played a haunting, possessed set. Hard to believe, but Strength In Numbers is already Calla’s 5th album. The band has maintained their somber dark sound within their five albums. Strength In Numbers marks a subtle departure for the band though.

While that signature Calla sound remains, Strength In Numbers is home to a few songwriting changes for the band. The album contains some of the band’s most upbeat and pop-influenced work. Instrumentally, the album is creative and inventive. Calla recognize the need for deviation as their sound could certainly be described as monotonous at times in the past. Strength In Numbers is quite a diverse listen that experiments with multiple moods and textures. Vocally, Aurelio Valle shows a willingness to stretch into areas rarely touched by his somber understated voice. These changes come with a welcome embrace even if they do not always feel natural for a band with such a recognizable sound.

At 13 songs and over 50 minutes, Strength In Numbers does lack a much needed brevity. That is easy to forgive when listening to the variation of the album though. I commend the band for realizing a need for evolution. Too many bands refuse to leave their comfort zone. With this album, Calla have freed themselves of that comfort. While Strength In Numbers may only be a transitional album for the band, it was a step the band needed to take. Frankly, I am excited to see the band’s next move.

RIYL: Interpol, Low, The Walkmen

Listen: Calla – Bronson (mp3)


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