Review of To The Treetops Album by Team Me

This, the debut album from Norwegian eclectic multi-instrumentalist collective, kicks off with 'Riding My Bicycle (From Ragnvaldsbekken To Sorkedalen) which opens with a melody dualled between the glimmering precision of piano and a nasal hummed vocal part. This melody or variations then underpin the vocal melody which eventually enters over a cacophonous musical blend something akin to Mew, certainly regarding Team Me's experimental feel. It's a multi-instrumental blend with clarinet and strings oozing around amongst synths, drums and strong bass. From its' quite angular openings, the track builds into a fuller two part vocal chorus. Chopping between feels but all the time maintaining the continuity of a single track, Team Me's sound is immediately fresh and interesting, and in an opening track pushing seven minutes long they are not afraid to give themselves space in which to explore.

The opening of 'Show Me' has a cool indie pulse to it, proving that the track wouldn't be out of place on the dance floor. The catchy evolving vocal melodies blend Mew with Guillemots as they echo higher above Team Me's eclectic musical blend, gradually building to a driving chorus flanked by strings and a chorus of vocal parts. Team Me's electro-infused, high-pitched vocal ridden sound owes a great debt to Patrick Wold, the subject of 'Patrick Wolf & Daniel Johns'; this blast of a track however, under three minutes long, also nods to a kind of pop punk simplicity. 'Weathervanes and Chemicals' then opens in string laden beauty soaring over rumbling tom-heavy drum parts. As the track builds into its chorus the vocals soar clear above the blend imitating the beauty of its string-led opening with melodies so lush they bring to mind a Sigur Ros like tranquillity and perfection over sensitive arrangements and gently sparkling glockenspiel. Offering something of a more stripped down contrast, with a delicately picked acoustic guitar opening, 'Fool' offers us a peek at how Team Me's tracks begin life as beautiful gentle songwriting that evolves through the input of the collective of musicians into much fuller sounding tracks that really build to ooze through the soundwaves akin to big Arcade Fire-like choruses. From its building, oozing glory, 'Fool' then drops back to a more careful anxious sound with picked acoustic guitar intertwined with the harmonies of the string arrangement amongst tumbling toms and strange electronic sounds.

Team Me To The Treetops Album

Later, 'Dear Sister' sounds multiple part vocals over well worked, busy yet sensitive accompanying arrangements that ebb and flow from gentle delicacy to a thicker, richer, altogether fuller blend and then back out to tranquillity though all the time glimmering with a wonderful hopeful tonality. The opening minute of 'Favourite Ghost' sounds a picked acoustic guitar doubled by gently distorted post-rock electric guitar sound, highlighted by the inclusion again of the delicate glimmering glockenspiel. 'Favourite Ghost' sounds a real melancholy and eerie-ness which contrasts the soaring hopeful beauty that has preceded it. Around two and a half minutes in, the track begins to build to a fuller blend; any sense of hope is short-lived, however, as the lonely solo guitar soon returns briefly making way for a Radiohead-esque intertwining of beats and picked guitars and then plunging into an almost post rock drive.

The delicate picked acoustic and banjo sounds make a return, warmed by a gentle piano line, in 'Looking Thru The Eyes of Sir David Brewster', however, 'With My Hands Covering Both Of My Eyes I Am Too Scared To Have A Look At You Now' pounds back to a catchy, dancefloor-worthy pound; a catchy, bright and bouncing vibe. The gently undulating harp-laden introduction to 'Daggers' then slows the tempo right down to conclude the album first with a contrasting folk flavoured calmness before making way for the characteristic rich, driving, fuller blend. A frankly stunning debut.

Hannah Spencer

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