Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Nov. 25, 2005
Work (Big Orange)
Sound Team's latest EP is a sure thing from the get-go. Recorded at their Austin analog studio Big Orange by Trail of Dead and Spoon knob twiddler Mike McCarthy, Work features four songs from their 2004 vinyl-only release Marathon and one new song. Opener "Fastest Man Alive" is poppy guitar work, and singer/guitarist Matt Oliver's singsong vocals create an atmosphere where bass and synth play leapfrog. "It's Obvious What's Happening Here" is an instrumental mesh of samples and Bill Baird's dubby bass; the clash of twinkling synth and beat heavy guitars on "Orange Bird" turns the dream pop up to 11. "In the Dark No One Can Hear You Sweat" is kind of sexy, like Prince dry-humping Death Cab for Cutie and reverb-y guitars culled from some Eighties teen movie. The last two minutes build into a rumbling crescendo, with guitarists Oliver and Sam Sanford wooing a piano line into bed. The disco beat of closer "Don't Turn Away" sways under Oliver's velvet vocals. It's like John Hughes' wet dream, and, of course, it's a teaser for their major label release next year. Listening to Work, there's a sense that pop music can be redefined. Here's to 2006.