» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Beggars Banquet

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 3, 2005
I predict that with Collisions, Calla will be New York's too-kept secret no longer. Simply (and bravely) put, it is the closest you'll get to The Bends in 2005. At first, the hushed seething of Aurelio Valle is not as affecting as Thom Yorke's howl, but with repeat listens it is quietly disarming, especially when placed within Calla's sweeping context. Likewise, when played softly, Collisions feels mannered yet engrossing, but when raised to match its heights, it is utterly decimating. If anything, Calla makes it all look too easy.

Opener "It Dawned On Me" establishes the brooding mood the band has become known for, and is also equipped with their signature, dangerous guitars and the seemingly effortless achievement of emotional grandeur. In it, as in all of Collisions, skies churn with clouds of impending doom, but they are vast and sparked by majestic lights. "Initiate" quickly drops to chilled atmospheres, where we are given a candlelit illumination on a solitary figure's arduous struggles with depression; it recalls both the Smashing Pumpkins and the Beatles with its melody, cleanly effective and cloaked within layers of prickly darkness. The initial stillness of "This Better Go As Planned" only strengthens the building tension and remorse, its creepy whisper punctuated by too-familiar, ageless rhymes. The track's anger is without outward passion but captures the existential distance of modern times to great, cool effect.

To wit, "Play Dead" is windswept and numb, lamenting, "All I know is you're moving too slow," and daring the world to make a true impression before the roar of guitars rushes in. Fitting its title, it is like slitting one's wrists just to feel; much of the album, particularly its beginning, carries a similarly impenetrable tone.

Then, with the slinking, sinister "Pulvarized", matters begin to come to a head. Its serpentine slither moves to an inevitable crush, setting up for three of Collisions' most powerful tracks, "So Far, So What", "Testify" and "Swagger." The first of these is a deranged effort, spawned by the antithesis of childlike wonder. It is wild-eyed and threatening, claiming, "You'll say something you might regret," and "There's nothing sweeter than when you're to blame" while murderous crashes and bloody cinematics play through. "Testify" is the "Just" of this album, grabbing the listener by the throat and forcing out beautiful vocals in the midst of unimaginable anguish. It is a song scared straight by its overwhelming aesthetics. "Swagger" follows suit with a pounding, ringing stomp, effectively classic pacing and a paranoia to match its infiltrated defenselessness. Its power is surrounding and inescapable; a merciful wash of strings turns to ruinous shards by its end.

Rounding out with the quirky spaghetti jazz and the imploring, sideways romanticism of "Stumble", the vampiric, stately specter of an interlude called "Imbusteros" and the closing repose and tentative, haunted dignity of "Overshadowed", Collisions ultimately turns into a bloodbath, captured with the artful, theatrical beauty of a trained eye. Blood splatters in patterns too lovely to look away; violence is unspeakably epic, too tragic and irrefutable to leave a single soul unaffected.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters



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