With roots in North Texas (singer Aurelio Valle and percussionist Wayne Magruder were in Denton's the Factory Press way back in 1993 before relocating to New York), this moody quartet has grown considerably over the course of five releases.

Calla's newly released effort, Strength in Numbers, may well be their best, featuring more of the jagged and minimalist indie pop that the band seemingly perfected on 2005's Collisions. Mournful and intense, songs such as "Sanctify" and "Malicious Manner" play out as if coming from an American version of the Cure, albeit without the makeup or metrosexual perversity. Rarely has somber sounded this engaging and, lo and behold, fun. Pleasantly retro and decidedly anglophile, Calla's music balances some hip influences with a modern dynamic that is unique and earnestly sentimental.


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