Talented musical duos and trios tend to instill a distinct notion of camaraderie in me for some reason. Bands greater than three tend to disorient me, not in terms of the music exactly, but more in terms of who does what. Done well, duos and trios can pull off the music I want to hear with the added bonus of conciseness and tangible character. Of course, such comments are only true if the music’s worth listening to, which I wasn’t sure about in my first introduction to Texan duo Team Tomb.
Team Tomb plays a flavor of alt-rock that I haven’t chanced upon since the early 2000’s. Shoegaze-influenced garage rock is the best way I can further describe it, with heavy usage of electric guitar and vocal filters to deliver a distinct sense of space. Relatively repetitive rhythms and sleepy, seemingly lackadaisical vocal melodies actually help to define this record, rather than hinder it. The combination of these characteristics in this genre was always what made it interesting to me, however, and this is nonetheless apparent in Team Tomb‘s self-titled debut.
Caleb (guitar/keyboard/lead vocals) and Benny’s (drums/keyboard/vocals) attention to detail is top-notch, even if it doesn’t quite seem there on first listen. The record has an uncanny ability to entrance, and provides for some seriously introspective thought patterns. I honestly didn’t listen much to the lyrics (as I tend not to unless they concern strange, attention grabbing concepts), but can attest to the album’s staying power and maturity over time. Overall, I can’t emphasize enough how hypnotizing the album ends up being, and is a perfect accompaniment for studying or performing work and keeping your attention to it the whole time.
These characteristics can be a double edged sword, however, and can end up being too alienating at times. If you’re looking for a record that’s going to grab and hold your attention to the music, rather than whatever it is you’re doing other than listening, this is not it. That’s not to say it can’t be listened to by itself, and the music (and genre as a whole) undoubtedly serves and fulfills its purpose, but can be a bit too drone-y on extended listens.
With all of this in mind, it shouldn’t discourage the thought of trying the record out. I thought that it initially wouldn’t be my kind of album, but over time, it truly began to grow on me. Its length is a bit brief for being a full-length, but the duo (becoming a quartet since the recording for live purposes) has conceived something great here, and I’m excited to hear more from them in the coming years.
Sounds like: The Strokes, Monogrenade, Bravestation
Stand out tracks:
Take a listen to my home-brewed instrumental/indietronic album
"The Past Is a Story We Tell Ourselves"
I'm told that it sounds like The Album Leaf, Balmorhea, and Emancipator.