By Sound Team
An integral piece of modern music promotion is the framing devices bands and their associated promotional agencies use for classifying and categorising their sound. Sound Team would have you believe that their main influences are Kraftwerk, Talking Heads, John Fahey and Sonic Youth. Thus they position themselves as musical pioneers, fighting against the imposed boundaries and constraints just as their forefathers did before them. Personally I just don't hear anything that revolutionary here, and it seems to me that the band themselves are not completely comfortable with exactly where they should be on the art-commerce spectrum.
Witnessing their live show (supporting The Walkmen at The Cockpit) it looked like they were six guys playing six different songs, mainly on pawn shop keyboards, at approximately the same time. But there was the occasional moment when they coalesced, and their indisputably energetic performance saw them on the edge of breaking through to the generally apathetic crowd. I say generally, two isolated fans were going berserk throughout their set as if we were witnessing an unforgettable night of discovery, one for the ages. This introduction left me intrigued to find out more.
And now I have and here's the rub: Whenever they indulge their experimental side ('TV Torso', '"Movie Monster"') you find yourself drawn inexorably towards the skip button. For Sound Team being experimental means drum loops, muffled vocals and keyboards, millions of keyboards. Then what you do is see, you repeat it over and over till the listener goes comatose.
And what a waste those tracks are. When they keep their discipline Sound Team are clearly a capable song writing unit. Their standard set up and delivery is actually closer to a couple of recent indie sensations that made their name at the SXSW festival (which takes place in Sound Team's own hometown of Austin, Texas) - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Tapes 'n Tapes. In the age of iTunes you can probably make the most of this release simply by downloading the anthemic 'Your Eyes Are Liars', the glacial 'Born To Please' and the Moog-out of 'No More Birthdays'.
Hopefully next time around Sound Team will be confident enough to make their album less of an ordeal, hopefully by then they'll be less concerned with their avant-garde credentials. Hopefully next time they'll be ready.