Published Jul 25, 2014On Call 4 Fun, Actual Water filter the simple melodic songs and solid riffs and solos of '60s and '70s power-pop through a '90s take on the genre. Thus, Call 4 Fun replicates a style replicating a style but, perhaps because there is no definitive sound today like there was in the '90s, there's no modern twist to distinguish its sound.
The key quality of Canadian power-pop in particular was earnestness; not only did the lyrics possess meaning, they were delivered with conviction, in interesting tonal qualities and within superbly written songs. While Actual Water's enthusiasm is apparent, any emotional depth seems (wilfully) absent. Upbeat opener "Take the Stairs" sets the pace with a Supergrass-meets-Hives feel. "Gorgeous George and the Pilaprats" sounds like the Strokes' debut and "Fire on George Street" is very Clash-like. "Latoya" is the highlight: reminiscent of early Thrush Hermit, it captures a sense of young love through a harmonic, innocent kind of doo-wop feeling, with tinny lead guitar and a sentimental outro.
While it may not strike listeners as particularly adventurous, the positive energy on Call 4 Fun is indisputable. It's a breezy kind of no-brainer album, ideal for summer listening. (Bad Actors)