TEAM ME started out as a solo project by Marius D Hagen and has now evolved into one of Norway’s most talked about bands. Now, I’m sure it’s not just me, but as soon as the conversation turns to Norwegian popular music, I instantly think we’re going to be talking about Black / Death Metal. I’m not exactly up to speed with the current musical trends of that country as you may gather – but this five track EP from Team Me is the complete antithesis of the music Norway has become famous for (in my head at least.)
It would be easy to make general comparison with Arcade Fire, I guess. Maybe Arcade Fire crossed with Camera Obscura. Whatever, this EP is a gloriously joyful, wispy and refreshing intermission from all the madness of the commercial, disposable pop / pap that’s around at the moment.
‘Weathervanes And Chemicals’ opens; the rolling drum beat and dual male / female vocals give it a clean and bouncy feel as the vocals morph into choir mode come the chorus. ‘Come Down,’ starts quietly, but quickly blossoms into a highly infectious song, again with the dual vocals and ‘team’ backing harmonies over the top of a perky beat and catchy keyboard hook.
‘Dear Sister’ is probably my favourite. Maybe. Here it is (if only just to save me from trying to justify my preference.)
‘Me And The Mountain,’ takes the pace down a little – well, quite a bit actually. It has a bit of a waltzing refrain, and rises and falls in volume and depth, but builds into quite an anthemic song.
Final song ‘Kennedy Street’ is the slowest of the five. To be honest, it does nothing for me until the final minute or so of the five, when the female vocal / guitar combo is teased out a little with some reverb, feedback and random quirky screeches. But it’s OK, I guess.
The six members of Team Me use an eclectic mix of instruments, including omnichord, music box, glockenspiel, toy piano samples, and many more. They do sail very close to the island of ‘twee’ but manage to successfully navigate away from the strong tides and currents that have drawn so many in before them.
(If Noah And The Whale can get so much national airplay, then I see no reason why Team Me should not benefit from the same exposure.)
(Released through Propellor Recordings on 18th April 2011)