Calla | Scavengers | ReviewAmbient electronics whisk forlorn desert blues into a black night sky. The dusty shudder and dry crackle of these acoustic strums, snakeskin drums and ambient hums will undoubtedly get Calla slotted into the "desert rock" niche that's so chic these days. Sucks to be them. Because Calla's music, while it's stark as a sun-bleached skull in Death Valley, doesn't ooze the contrived moods and affectations of some current indie kid who just discovered Neil Young and Godspeed You Black Emperor! Not only did the trio's members actually grow up in Texas, the ghost of some genuine hurt lurks in these shadows.
This is noctural listening: Inky black skies and heavy clouds of minimal, minor-key chords haunt the atmosphere with sadness. Vocals crack and whisper in tales seductive, secretive and bleeding, sepia memories of "you inside my arms, inside my hands, paralyzing every sense I ever had." Gently sputtering distortion twists into serpentine forms that wind across sparse electronic drones so organic they seem reborn every time you listen to the disc. And then the slow crescendos rise like whirling UFOs come to take us away. Until the next song beams us right back in the thick of it all. Or you reach the end of the album and press play again—as you may well want to do. Calla soaks into your bones like arsenic, potent and quietly lethal. (JG)