Calla | Scavengers | Review
Calla have a minimalist, introspective sound which they use to convey a continual sense of confusion and unease.
NYC-based Calla have a minimalist, introspective sound which they use to convey a continual sense of confusion and unease. On their debut CD Scavengers, they play slow, sparse songs built around acoustic guitar, drums and vocals, with programmed ambient sound underneath, giving everything an eerie, dark feel. Calla essentially deliver the impression of slowly entering the human mind at its most depressed. Singer/Lyricist Aurelio Valle voices questions and fears, about relationships and life, in a low, crisp voice. He conveys a sense of bewilderment at people and how to deal with them, a sense that is completed by the band's skill at creating a thoroughly dark scene out of a few elements. As Valle expresses paralysis and regret, the music crawls and lurks, imitating both his hesitancy and his sadness. Calla's bio on the Young God Records web site gives the information the band's other two members, Wayne Magruder and Sean Donovan, are a design student interested in the connection between electronics and rock music and a classically trained avant garde composer. These facts are not surprising; with every slow step forward Calla project a sense of planning, that their music is deliberately designed to create a certain effect with certain instruments, that the band members are trying to convey the most mood and emotion with the fewest elements. If that's their plan, they've won. From the album's start through to the end, a cover of U2's "Promenade" (which comes after an especially aptly titled song called "A Fondness for Crawling"), Calla skillfully create a sense of loss and emptiness without ever beating you over the head. They gently lull you into impending doom.