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 were going to go, says singer and guitarist Aurelio Valle. We found ourselves reverting to our old records. Were proud of them.
The rich, complex Strength in Numbers borrows heavily from Callas varied playbook. Parts of it echo the cut-and-paste looping of its self-titled 1999 debut. Other sections recall 2005s 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 were recording, were in our best element. We just hammer it out when we play them live. We basically need to relearn the songs.
The new CDs textured sound stems from the trios 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 Valles home. We felt comfortable making the record that way, because thats how we started making records, says Valle. We couldnt afford to be in a studio too long in the early days.
These days, youre more likely to find Calla in the studio than onstage. The setting, says Valle, better suits the bands 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 weve ever done, he says. We wanted to sound like Calla.
Sun., April 8, 9 p.m.