The fourth album from New York-based indie rock band Calla, Collisions was one of my personal favourite albums to come out of 2005. Unfamiliar with the band at the time, this came pretty much out of nowhere and quietly blew me away.
With Calla on hiatus since 2007, it’s a mystery whether we’ll get another album from them any time soon so it’s the perfect opportunity to discover or re-discover some of their older works.
But how does Collisions stand up today? Is it as good as I recall?
Well, the first track, “It Dawned On Me”, certainly starts things off in style with a great hook, a moody, catchy melody pushed forward by an energetic, upbeat rhythm. The song sets the tone for the rest of the album with its effortlessly cool, slightly sinister yet thoroughly entertaining vibe. It helps that it’s followed by “Initiate”, a slower, darker, sexier song with another brilliant hook and another memorable melody. It’s an atmospheric, bittersweet track which works perfectly, cementing the album early on as one to keep listening to.
Calla keep the momentum going with “This Better Go As Planned”, a beautifully delivered, grungy track with a more gothic tone, an irresistible crescendo and a simple yet effective rhythm. The dark chorus is the icing on the cake, topping off an already terrific song with another really cool pay off. Another cool track with a great build-up is “Play Dead”, which is definitely more chilled-out and provides some decent breaks.
“Pulvarized” is next and its slow, off-beat rhythm merges with the whispers-like vocals really well leading to a soft but charming chorus which helps give the whole song a moody, dream-like feel. The album encounters its first “dud” with “So Far, So What”, a more experimental track which starts off slow but doesn’t really deliver on its build-up. The somewhat more bitter lyrics give the song something of an edge but not enough to make it stand out: the chorus is a little disappointing. It’s not that bad of a song, really, it just falls a bit flat.
Song number 7 is “Stumble”, a slightly more upbeat track with a great hook and a laid-back Dandy Warhols-esque opening. It’s a cool, moody little song which gets the album promptly back on track after a mild, well… stumble. It is followed by “Imbusteros”, not so much a full song as it is a long, mysterious, latin-sounding transition. Not much to say about that one, really.
This leads us to song number 9, “Testify”, a rockier tune with more of a 90’s feel thanks to its grungier, feedback-driven approach. It’s not the most memorable track of the bunch but it’s fun and enjoyable nonetheless. “Swagger”, meanwhile, certainly lives up to its name by delivering tons of swagger, a killer rhythm, hook and vocals. It develops at a brisk, perfect pace and it’s instantly hummable thanks to its contagious melody/chorus.
To put it simply: it’s a hit.
Finally, we have “Overshadowed”, a very slow lullaby-style song which ends Collisions on a soft, sleepy note. It picks up a little about three minutes in but then it devolves into an instrumental outro. Again, not so much a full song as it is a “dot dot dot” transition to the album.
A more explosive ending and perhaps one more kickass song could have made Collisions the perfect modern dark indie rock album. As it stands, it’s still an underrated, surprisingly cool and moody effort that’s well worth checking out.
It’s quite probably the band’s best achievement so, until they get back to work, definitely go back and listen to it.
Quality stuff well deserving of its 4 Happy Cobains out of 5.