Callers, a wonderful not-so-new band, approximate the difficulty in being in love with a ghost, a phantom you love very deeply. He or She or It can say the things that will melt your heart, that will make you weep like tomorrow’s been put on hiatus. Verbally, you’re on the same sylable of the same word, same sentence, same page. But, the thing is, you can never touch He/She/It. You can’t even see them for sure. The cynical, coupon-cutter side of you is still trying to convince the rest that the “ghost” is just a manifestation of nostalgia or fear or a stillborn brother you almost had when you were three, who still inhabits your days more than you would’ve thought possible. You think it’s a persuasive argument, but you also think it’s not true. You’re not the type to believe in heaven, but you find yourself smitten with a ghost you cannot prove is there.
Callers are that. The songs on their captivating new album, “Life of Love,” might feel familiar, and due to the grace of the band’s rhythm section, will certainly feel hospitable. But you won’t be able to get as close as you’d like to tracks like “Life of Love,” “Heartbeat” or “Dressed in Blue.” These songs do not progress to obvious climaxes. In contrast, they hold back at about 75 percent, with Sara Lucas’ swiss army knife vocals massaging a pressure point while also photographing you from a dark corner of the room. Callers are the ghost you fall in love with. You’re fairly certain they would exist without an audience, but now that you’re around, you feel like they’re doing it all for you.
The second and third hours of Saturday were spent on the 2, then 3, then 1 trains. There is something exceptional, in a very literal sense, about the New York City subway late at night. It is the world only system which runs twenty four hours a day, and that brings out a tangible sense of community between many of those who ride it at the less common hours, a communal fear of all of us vs. the man in thick bright winter coat pacing the length of the car, a sense of empathy with the pacer himself as the train plods through its late night run, a combined quiet so the child, moments ago spinning around the center poll like a splitting subatomic particle, can sleep on the shopping bag his mother props up. There’s something you understand, whatever your reason for riding that late, coming back from a job or a party, a breakup or covered in post-sex glow. It’s about as close to a universal as New Yorkers get.
I love how excited Paul Simon gets in this version of this song. Dude is so psyched, he unintentionally pushes his mouth 3rd base close to the microphone. At one point that the p consonant he digs out goes straight into your eardrum. It’s an exciting syllable.
Also, anyone else as psyched as I am about the new Get Up Kids album?