Self-production by major label artists is rarer than walking into an indie bar/club and not hearing the Arctic Monkeys, within ten minutes of getting through the door these days. Therefore, it is refreshing to know that the mood, tone and vibes proffered on this eleven track rove though mood country are genuinely chosen by the outfit themselves and are worked out with an authentic DIY ethos. The quick firing atmospheric jaunt of 'Get Out' and the foundation laying, yearning vocal inclusive, synthesiser sliding, long ride of 'Born To Please', illuminates an ability to explore music and to reflect in different manners. The general vibe given off here is one akin to Sonic Youth being delved into by Kraftwerk and Spoon, as vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Matt Oliver, renders his voice and his instruments as malleable as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion. He transforms his vocals and instrumental prowess to mingle in with the requisite mood and feeling of each song.
The electro stomping with a rustic sixties guitar line inclusive 'TV Torso', would form the crux of any stoner anthems compilation. Weighing in at the six minute mark, the sparse, but worldly-wise vocals of Matt are polished neatly by his younger brother and synth-cajoler, Michael. Ever ones for contrast, this Austin born six strong troupe follow this up with one of their rockiest offerings 'Back In Town', featuring the most aching vocals they can muster. The abstract indie of 'Shattered Glass' makes powerful emotion out of ebbing and flowing, bass led instrumentals and hearty narrative singing to project feels of redemption. Sound Team come across as a band who would be mesmerizing in a live setting and that is certainly the reputation they have been building up, but this is also an offering you can lose yourself in at home or even in work.
Texas sextet, Sound Team, have been impressing many with their Talking Heads flavoured rock, on tours with such distinguished acts as The Arcade Fire.
The attraction is obvious; there is a lot of Arcade Fire in the tracks on display here. Opener 'Get Out' is a dense, anthemic rocker, like a clipped 'Wake Up', and 'Shattered Glass' is a 'Power Out' style funk rocker, but, there are a lot more strings to their bow than that.
'Movie Monster', (their punctuation, not mine), is a full-blooded animal of a record that flits from industrial, Krautrock style workouts, to heavily layered synth-pop, with electric guitar buzzes underlining all the points along the way. You can hear their influences, but they're never obtrusive, and don't stick around for too long. 'No More Birthdays' is a fantastic exercise in Beatles-style piano pop that gets swamped by crystalline keyboard lines and swathes of guitar feedback. This is the sound of a band who enjoy experimenting with noise.
What is also notable is the way Matt Oliver's vocals are buried in the mix and are often unintelligible, which gives the impression of the voice being another instrument, adding to the sheer thickness of the sound.
It's too much to take in on one listen, but give it a chance, and you'll discover a rewarding album by a promising young band.