Strength In Numbers is NYC-based veteran indie outfit Calla's fifth album and second for the Beggars Banquet label. Like its most immediate predecessor - 2005's Collisions - Strength In Numbers is an epic, grandiose offering that reveals new twists and turns with each listen. It's thoughtful without being intellectually pompous and artistically experimental, yet accessible enough to enjoy without the need for mind-altering hallucinogens. There's a peaceful, calming quality to the album that seems to fit perfectly with the snow-laden sidewalks and bitter winter breezes that have integrated themselves into the daily lives of much of the country over the past few weeks.
Slowly building atmospheric swirls open the first 49 seconds of the album, before giving way to angry, brooding guitars and subsonic bass lines that have an almost industrial vibe reminiscent of NIN. Frontman Aurelio Valle's whispery vocals are the framework that hold the band together. In his soft, fragile delivery, Calla draw their strength and passion, building a wall of sound to surround and protect the beauty of Valle's breathy lamenting.
Stand out tracks include "Bronson," "Rise," and "Malicious Manner," the latter of which is actually a re-working of a demo initially recorded for Collisions called "Mosquitos." The fact that it was it was able to be so easily assimilated into the forthcoming release is no surprise, however, because the bottom line is that if you liked Collisions, you're going to love Strength In Numbers.