It’s hard to deny the contagious enthusiasm on Team Me’s debut EP. Reminiscent of fellow Norwegian rockers, Mew, as well as the communal theatrics of Arcade Fire and fellow Post-Vintage artists, MGMT- this is dreamy thunderstorm pop for the young and young at heart, the type of sound built to be an acquired taste. But what it lacks in subtlety, it makes up in sheer vitality and pulse- Team Me is urgently listenable. Comparisons can also be drawn to Jonsi’s 2009 solo LP, both collections of songs all but force you to seize the day. Team Me is a six-piece band where all parties involved challenge the listener to keep up while striving to be heard. After all, this is a band that released their first single as the background music for their own surprisingly addictive online video game (of course there’s a video game!).
Things get off to a rousing start with “Weathervanes and Chemicals”- easily the album’s high point. An arresting assault of strings, keys, and up-tempo cavernous vocals, “Chemicals” recalls the high points of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” as well as the theme song to the forgotten anime series “The Mysterious Cities of Gold”. The songs that follow never quite reach the utopian heights of “Chemicals”- yet they avoid plummeting into the depths of C-side filler. The opening energy is maintained and spread around accordingly. The frenetic pace of “Come Down” is complemented by the slower grandeur of “Dear Sister”- a firm candidate for the EP’s second best track. The songs, written by frontman Marius D. Hagen, are appropriately moody and quixotic given the sunshiney lilt of most of the instrumental progressions. And on several tracks, the backup vocals from Synne Knudsen generate a fanciful male-female rapport. Whether or not this bombastic assault of harmonies can sustain an entire album is another matter entirely- but it’s a challenge I look forward to hearing.
- Fr. Jones