Sound Team

SOUND TEAM initially gained notoriety with their DIY work ethic: They gigged constantly, hawked cassettes, built their own studio. Like many young bands, their early music lunged from one direction to another, finally coalescing in their recently released major-label debut, MOVIE MONSTER (Capitol). The irony of a fiercely independent Austin band becoming subject to the whims of the suits in Hollywood is doubtlessly not lost on this sextet, most of whose members grew up in San Antonio. Their music doesn’t rock as much as pump. Undulating keyboards hammer and swirl; guitars ring white noise and rhythmic clatter over thunderous drums and all manner of found objects. It’s quite a din, and Sound Team, like virtually all bands who have gone before them, claim not to have made even the tiniest adjustments for the demands of a huge label. Yet admit it or not, the band has shifted its sound, and that’s not at all a bad thing. The serrated edges of their Work EP have been sanded and reshaped, the jams tightened up. For a band that calls itself experimental, there are actual songs here (“Born to Please,” “No More Birthdays”). The lyrics may be of a piece with a lot of overly ambitious rockers, yet Sound Team’s vocals can be buoyant and infectious, lightening the ponderous mood that bogs down many of their peers. Instead of sounding as if they’re under pressure, these guys play out like a group having a lot of fun.

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