Saturday, May 23, 2009

One For The Team Build a Garden

The title for this post is pretty unimaginative and I apologize, but it was just too easy. The band is One For The Team, and the album is Build a Garden, an EP the group have released prior to their upcoming sophomore effort scheduled for release later this Summer. The Minneapolis band led by Ian Anderson (no, not THAT Ian Anderson) make earnest, upbeat boy/girl pop music presented in an endearingly grounded and sincere way. The EP's eight tracks are addicting and catchy, but slightly less grandiose than the music of so many of their musical cousins (e.g. New Pornographers), making for a refreshing and enjoyable introduction to the group's sound.

The opening duo of "Questions and Panthers" and "Best Supporting Actress" best showcase the group's slightly rough pop sound, with mostly acoustic guitars backing Anderson and keyboardist Grace Fiddler's emotionally delivered lyrics that contain a bit of an emo tinge to them but never drift into self-destructive or overtly lonely territory. The group do branch out in a slightly noisier direction occasionally, like the reckless "Ha Ha," which adds a bit of a psychedelic, rock 'n' roll edge to their music and proves the band have more than one stylistic trick up their collective sleeve. What's most impressive about the music is One For The Team's ability to make what on paper is a somewhat tired musical approach feel fresh and engaging while still providing generous amounts of pop hooks and catchy songwriting. This is another band worth keeping an eye (or perhaps ear) on.

I've got a bunch of stuff to check out below, including an MP3 and live performance video of "Best Supporting Actress," my favorite cut from the EP. Give these guys a listen and be sure to also give their upcoming album, Build It Up, a chance when you can (it's available on iTunes now).

"Best Supporting Actress" (MP3)

"Best Supporting Actress" (Video Link)

Remix of Phoenix's "1901" (MP3)

One For The Team on MySpace