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Band in the Mirror

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On their first four albums, New York City indie-rockers Calla shaped their music around high-concept pitches: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly crossed with Blade Runner, Dr. John meets Björk. For the new Strength in Numbers, the band turned to its own back catalog. “Other artists say, ‘This is the direction we’re going to go,’” says singer and guitarist Aurelio Valle. “We found ourselves reverting to our old records. We’re proud of them.”

The rich, complex Strength in Numbers borrows heavily from Calla’s varied playbook. Parts of it echo the cut-and-paste looping of its self-titled 1999 debut. Other sections recall 2005’s Collisions, a more live-in-the-studio outing. “We realized that a lot of these songs had more energy than we initially thought,” says Valle. “When we’re recording, we’re in our best element. We just hammer it out when we play them live. We basically need to relearn the songs.” The new CD’s textured sound stems from the trio’s unconventional recording process over the past year. Strength in Numbers was made at studios in N.Y.C. and Austin (where the band was formed), as well as at various tour stops. Vocals were often laid down in Valle’s home. “We felt comfortable making the record that way, because that’s how we started making records,” says Valle. “We couldn’t afford to be in a studio too long in the early days.” These days, you’re more likely to find Calla in the studio than onstage. The setting, says Valle, better suits the band’s moody indie-rock. Nearly every track on Strength in Numbers builds on a sonic foundation of droning guitars and electronic buzzing. “We wanted to combine everything that we’ve ever done,” he says. “We wanted to sound like Calla.”
Sun., April 8, 9 p.m.

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