Call & Response

Winds Take No Shape

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In the three years since their debut, San Francisco's Call and Response have grown up. Their first record was a glittery, sometimes goofy indie pop confection that only sometimes dipped into melancholy waters. Winds Take No Shape is neck-deep in melancholy from the sad chord progressions to the low-key vocal harmonies to the restrained tempos. There are no songs about roller skating or blowin' bubbles here; the mood is very adult and very introspective. The instrumentation is subdued, too -- less bubbly synths and more sweeping organs, less bounce and more pout. They even bring in acoustic guitars on some of the songs, like the quietly epic "Misty Moon." Before you lament the loss of the perky, happy Call and Response, realize that the band does melancholy extremely well. It may take a spin or two to get used to the new deeper feeling, but once you do it is hard not to be blown away by the power of the songs. Simone Rubi's vocals are well suited to sadness, and the band is never anything less than completely sympathetic. Subtlety is the key, and they manage it without being boring. It would have been nice to lift the haze with an uptempo track or two, but at only ten songs and 37 minutes, the album never drags. It is a rare reinvention that comes across as well as this. Cherish it.

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