Call and Response : Tiger Teeth

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If you’re just entering the picture right now, Call and Response are a Bay-Area group who has undergone quite a dramatic transition in the past year or so. On their debut, self-titled album, they played silly, dreamy songs about rollerskating and such. But just six months ago, they released Winds Take No Shape, an album that showed a band playing it straight-faced, with well-honed musical skills and a newfound “serious” take on their style. Both albums were good, but of course, the latter was leaps and bounds more advanced and mature than the former. Between the two, however, they recorded some material that wasn’t quite the dreamy elegance of Winds, but saw them attempting something not nearly as silly as their first batch of songs. On Tiger Teeth, the band’s new EP, that material is finally seeing release, if it is a bit anachronistic.

For starters, Tiger Teeth sounds crisper and more mature than their debut. A newly jazzy and funky element enters the picture, as well as moody atmospherics, which, I must say, enhance their music drastically. Yet, it’s still light, breezy pop music. The guitars jangle a bit and the vocals are sweet and melodic. The chorus on “Tiger Teeth” alone is worth a listen, as is the minor-key bliss of “Curves in a Straight Line.” But the songs on this collection tend to blend together after awhile, falling victim to their own pleasantries, blurring into a benevolent cloud of dreamy pop music.

For those wondering why this wasn’t released until now, it’s a bit of a long, convoluted story involving labels and the lack thereof. In short, nobody would let them. But after a new home at Badman, it seem to have sorted itself out. Though it is a shame that Tiger Teeth had to sit around so long without a proper label’s backing.

Tiger Teeth is not an essential recording, nor is it a bad recording. What it is, however, is an interesting time capsule in the history of a band who’s shown a lot of growth in five years. There are, no doubt, plenty of bright spots ahead for this band, and this was merely a glimmer.

Similar albums:
Stereolab – First of the Microbe Hunters
Saint Etienne – Sound of Water
Cardigans – Emmerdale

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