Volunteered Civility & Professionalism

Volunteered Civility & Professionalism

by Soccer Team

CD

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Overview

For the first few tracks on Soccer Team's debut, it's hard to shake the feel of Ryan Nelson's former bands. "So You Like It Vague, Huh?" and "Solid Ring Fighters" are typical of his work with the Beauty Pill and Most Secret Method; the difference this time is that the production is considerably more lo-fi, and the songs aren't "songs" as such, but feel more like vignettes -- moments or memories of songs, incomplete yet (oddly) finished-feeling ideas for songs. It's almost as if there is a cleaning house of sorts going on. These moments then give way, allowing the record to open up and show its many varied faces. Once Melissa Quinley's full-on vocal debut on "We Closed a Record Store" has wrapped up, the album kicks into (a multifaceted and multi-influenced) gear. Moving from Eno-esque soundscape ("'Volunteered' Civility & Professionalism"), Soccer Team touch on styles that are as varied as they are interesting in choice. "Cavity Called Home" is reminiscent of pre-Tommy-era Who or the Lilys; "All the Walkers Home" reminds one of pre-Dark Side Pink Floyd, the lighter, non-"freak out" aspects of Meddle, specifically. Nelson and Quinley are adept at moving from uppity, ironic pop to moody indie pieces without slipping and stumbling over the bumps those kinds of attempts usually create. Has anyone ever quite managed to meld songs that bring to mind T. Rex and Throwing Muses so well before? Possibly, but there can't be many, so Soccer Team are arguably in some very select company. Irony, melody, and a sly smile slipped into the lyrics round out a collection that only adds to the new direction that many of Dischord's bands are taking, slotting in very nicely with the Evens and French Toast. If this debut is any indication of what the new productive burst that Dischord is going through in 2006, the label is in very fine form.

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