call and response

Toast is the coolest: Take two slices of bread, pop ’em in your toaster, and mere moments later, voilà—you’re spreading butter, jam, Marmite or whatever and enjoying the snack that’s ready when you are. Mmmm. Bay Area quintet call and response is kinda like that; the group combines influences as adroitly as Tom mixes toppings down at the True Love on waffle night: A little cinnamon and apple here, a bass’n’drum groove straight from Archie Bell & the Drells there, here a pecan and there an Astrud Gilberto flourish. Sure, there’s a relentlessly Prozacky sheen to call and response’s tuneful pop concoctions, but why must everything sound like Joy Division when you can do the Schoolhouse Rock instead? Such deceptively simple singalong candy as “Rollerskate” and “California Floating in Space” are Velvet Underground simple and Bacharach/David complex. Which is to say that this record is quite sublime.