Ode to Melancholy- Calla Review
It was fitting the band Calla played on Friday the 13th at the Middle East, with their newest album about desperation within doomed romances. At this time Strength By Numbers, is their fifth full-length album, but nothing has changed the band's molecular structure so now it's impossible ~at least for any Bostonian standing in a crowd at their concert ~to hear songs like "Defenses Down" and "Malicious Manner" and think they don't have a fascination for writing music about agonizing relationships: "Your in mind/ Your in my head/ At this moment your as good as dead."
Calla has never struck me as an explicity depressing band, but their lyrics are dark enough to pigeon hole them as yet another heartbroken band whose selling point is based off of their murk. Perhaps it's the lead singer, Aurelio Valle's signature edgy and painfully sexual voice that appeals to something vulnerable inside all of us. Or maybe it's the band's drummer, Wayne B. Magruder who seems to drum as steady as a heartbeat woking overtime as heard in "Sylvia's Song"
The band experiments less with sound in this newest album compared to their previous album, Collisions, where their control over ghostly distortion laid a foundation for ambience that guitars and drums couldn't create alone. Frankly, some of the songs they played sounded a bit recycled from their previous albums. Yet what makes the new songs appealing is their return to form and now we see its been finely tuned.
Musically, Calla is among the best of their kind out there. They could easily sit comfortably next to bands like Interpol, Massive Attack, or even more down into the archives Echo and The Bunnymen. While the more cynical Bostonians among us may dismiss them as mere melancholy musicians, there's no doubting this is their appeal.