A gloomy NY trio originally from Austin, Calla deal in that dark romantic narcissism guys like Nick Cave and Tom Waits are known to wallow in on record after record. Whether it works has a lot to do with the personality of its purveyor. No one questions that Cave and Waits write their poetry using a quill and blood ink under a full moon, but how do we know Aurelio Valle (guitars/vocals) is as tortured as the 13 tracks on Strength insist? Stand Paralyzed, Malicious Manner and Sanctify make a convincing enough case as Valle moans and writhes over dour acoustic strums and Peter Gannon's moody keys. But on Bronson, a frail ray of sun from behind the clouds, drummer/programmer Wayne Magruder picks up the pace and Valle's pop hooks come dangerously close to making him sound like he actually enjoys playing music.