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Call and Response



Keyboards, keyboards, and more keyboards! Northern California pop quintet Call and Response (C.A.R.) employs the warm analog tones of Wurlitzers, Moogs, and Farfisas along with a ton of feathery doop-de-doo harmonies to produce sticky-sweet, lighter-than-air summery pop music. In spirit, they're like the modern reincarnation of the great, but largely forgotten Free Design, the '60s and '70s sunshiny ensemble which, along with The Beach Boys, set the bar for syrupy, fun-loving, easygoing pop music. Like later Free Design records, C.A.R. even spike their bubblicious, kaleidoscopic sound with a little gentle funk, which might occasionally inspire a "Hey, who put that Sly my Air?" for some listeners, but on the whole works very nicely. Hints of late '60s and early '70s Laurel Canyon folk-rock and '70s AM radio soft rock regularly surface as well.

The quintet formed in the Bay Area in the late '90s and recorded its first album in 2000 after heading out to Athens to play at a Kindercore music festival. There they met Olivia Tremor Control wunderkind Bill Doss, who helped them put together their delicious self-titled debut record, which nicely brings out C.A.R.'s terrific harmonic prowess and innate grooviness. A few months after the album came out on Kindercore, Emperor Norton re-released it with a pair of new tracks and four remixes recorded with the help of producer Mickey Petralia (Beck, Luscious Jackson, Air). The featured "Rollerskate" captures Call and Response's signature dreamy California pop style. It was their first single.

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