Despite attracting praise from a plethora of critics these past few years, and before New York was again considered a thriving rock hotbed in the ears of the world, Calla have never shifted units enough to rival their stadium-rocking one-time peers. Their gloom was always ironically overshadowed, and some, by the ballsy garage blasts of those about them; now, though, the musical landscape is a much-changed place. Soul-searching introspection is favoured over bright-eyed exuberance, and depression has battled back against rock 'n' roll debauchery - one only needs to look at the indie successes this year, and the subtleties they employ so ingeniously, for evidence. It seems, then, that today is the ideal time for Calla to strike their blackened spears into existing supporters and unsuspecting souls alike.
'It Dawned On Me' is everything the previously initiated have come to expect from this trio: guitars emanate forth from the darkest depths of NYC's abandoned subways, while singer Aurelio Valle croaks woefully like a man knowingly nearing his last days. Whatever dawned on him, it has left its mark, and the scar it incessantly picked. Its pace is such that it's not likely to trouble daytime playlists a la The Strokes' new Eighties Matchbox-echoing effort, but there's a semblance of all things serene between the slabs of squall. Indeed, Calla's affecting softer side is fully revealed on b-side 'Contras Los Vampiros', where Valle barely raises his voice above a whisper while a stark guitar paints smoky trails about his bowed face. It is a song of real beauty.
This comeback package, preceding the band's forthcoming Collisions album, is closed by 'Rusted Dawn', a scratchy, droney take on the lead track. It has an air of Radiohead at their most macabre about it, each low rumble exposing fresh demons in its wake. In the background a voice cries into a void, the endless dark swallowing it before any salvation comes; on terra firma though, the outlook's a little rosier. This_ should_ mark Calla out as genuine ones to watch, even in the super-glossy and notoriously fickle upmarket end of the music press. If not, well, the mass market's loss is the intelligent music fan's substantial gain.
8Mike Diver's Score