Arena Rock

Imagine if Edgar Allan Poe were born in the late 1970s, having grown up in punk rock communities of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Imagine, too that Poe loved to write music in the vein of his favorite bands The Pixies (their softer, creepier stuff), Portishead, and early Starflyer 59. Poe’s band would sound like Calla, and his greatest accomplishment thus far would be Televise.

The actual truth is that Televise is the brainchild of Calla’s breathy vocalist Aurelio Valle. The music on Televise is completely gorgeous, that is if you’re into thoroughly downtrodden, depressing, and wandersome music. The majority of the songs sound as if they’re being played by a groups of ghosts, and such is the brilliance of Calla’s music; I truly believe that if Joy Division were to have formed in the last few years, they might sound similar to Calla.

Standout songs include the longing “Don’t Hold Your Breath,” which features a warm, jazzy guitar line, that borders on sounding Robert Smith-esque. The chord progression plods along atop a lightly brushed, shuffling drum beat. The opening line, “This day is dead,” provides an accurate feel for the song, which sounds as if it is struggling against death, while simultaneously embracing the idea of eternal sleep. “As Quick as it Comes” is so beautiful and sad, that even the manliest jock will well up and choke a bit in the eyes of the lightly strummed guitars and wonderfully longing guitar melody which cries above the nearly whispered vocals. The track “Televised,” is awesome, but sounds completely out of place on this record. It features an OK Computer-style Radiohead drum beat, with a sassy guitar line, a la early Gang Of Four, and the song is a true rump shaker!

I can’t believe how incredibly stunning and well done this record is. It may be necessary to take my glowing review with a grain of salt, though, as some of my all-time favorite bands are The Cure, Mary Timony (solo & Helium), Sonic Youth, Bedhead, Starflyer 59, and The Pixies, among others. I have a penchant for the depressing and downtrodden, so this was right up my alley. If you enjoy the sounds of longing, despair, confusion, and sadness, this is much more authentic than anything you’ll hear on Projekt or Cleopatra, so dig in, fans of the darker side of emotion, and give Televise a try!

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