Review Summary: Calla craft a decent record, most appealing for its moody charm.
Calla are an indie rock outfit originating from Texas and now based in NY. Since their formation the band has released five full length albums. Collisions
was their fourth, released in May of 2005. The musicians on the album are Aurelio Valle on vocals and guitar, Wayne B. Magruder on drums, and Peter Gannon on bass.
If there’s anything striking about the group, it’s the overwhelming despondency in their music. Every track on Collisions
has either a blatantly depressed feel or a more disguised cynical tone. Opener “It Dawned On Me” belongs to the second group, with Valle singing See what I need to say please / And there's no one else there but me / You should know but you don't / As it slaps you upside the face
. His emotion alternates between bitterness and hoplessness. “Initiate” features Valle singing It's too late to try and take it back now / String me up and hang me upside down
. The moodiness is always there, making this the perfect album to play after a crisis or when you’re in an existential or nihilistic rut.
“This Better Goes As Planned” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The straightforward drum beat beneath the muted guitar is well coordinated, and Valle sings a powerful melody. The next track “Play Dead” has an exceptional refrain. The chord progression contains plenty of movement, which is very satisfying. “Pulverized” contains more embittered lyrics and a more ambient approach musically. Calla utilize post-rock elements to create tension and emotion. “So Far, So What” is notable for its raging chorus where Valle yells So far, so what
. The next three, “Stumble”, “Imbusteros”, and “Testify” are decent, but largely forgettable; “Imbusteros” is only an interlude of sorts, and the other two just mediocre. Then comes “Swagger”, with its strong rhythms and supple guitar melody. The chorus is beautiful, with Valle singing simply but pristinely over the powerful chord progression. It is another of my favorites and stands out clearly on the record. Lastly is the dynamic closer “Overshadowed”, what you’d expect at the end, but predictability doesn’t dampen its effect.
In the end, the album has its moments, but they are mostly airy and rarely dynamic. Some people will probably be hooked by the album's simple appeal, but more likely it will end up at the bottom of your pile of CDs, tried and forgotten. A 2.6 for its better songs.