Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
What's overheard in the songs that Callers lead singer Sara Lucas sings is a swell of oxygen, of blood and of boiling water. It's a swell of leather and soil and bee stings and tears and sorrow, spring, fall, winter and summer - more winter and fall than spring and summer, truth be told. It's like being laid down onto the finest, most comfortable bed you've ever had the good fortune to be laid down onto and it's simultaneously like getting the wind knocked completely out of you, like you've just been tackled by a fridge, or The Fridge. You black out and the next thing you know, you're staring up at the bright overhead lights, with a bit of a spinning head and a panorama of some lingering, starry haziness. You've taken to a bleariness that will take some time to work its way out of your system, as you move slowly and try to get your footing again. All the while, you don't really feel half bad, you know, as if you were on your way to getting one of the most relaxing night's sleeps that you've ever had. You were on the cusp, feeling a soothing slumber work itself over you.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., band - made up of Lucas, guitarist Ryan Seaton and drummer Don Godwin - returned to the Horseshack the day after the show they were to play in Chicago the previous night was raided by the cops because a club owner hadn't paid the appropriate permit fees, and they taped three songs from their latest full-length, "Life of Love." The songs chosen, like the rest of the album, balances on the tempestuous nature of coexisting with all of the other people and things trying to coexist together and how dealing with that breaks us down to our very shakiest. Nothing can be done with our cotton mouths or our shaky nerves, but we feel as if we belong, right here, in the middle of the rushing waters and the discordant meanderings of sweet and bitter, but not necessarily the bittersweet.
Callers live for the contradictions, for the down-tunings and the recognizably harsh music that's always at odds with Lucas' soaring and passionate vocal style. They make sparks out of our fears and those sparks light the room when the night fades into the picture. There are no straight lines, but crooked passages of thundering hearts and sweaty palms as the people on "Life of Love" feel as if they're the luckiest beasts around as well as feeling that they need to be watching over their shoulders at all times for the other shoe or shoes to fall. It's as if the only way to protect the former sensation is to get out while the getting's good and still, that's no form of preservation. Lucas sings on "Glow," "There was a field that once grew high/Patterns pressing out a punctured light/I see how we could reign in the stops/It's a perfect day to be going/Yes, I'll be gone." We tend to feel it - and this -- when our hands or our face gets too close to a fire. This breaking point, when the hot orange of a burning pile of wood begins to cook your hair, skin and muscle - even just a little bit - and it is worked into the songs on "Life of Love," making what we hear lustrous and dangerously beautiful.