Though it debuted in late August, One for the Team's latest record belongs to the summer solstice, to some fabled day on which the breeze is always warm and the sun never sets.
Build It Up, comprising 12 short and feisty alt-pop gems, hemorrhages melody and throw-up-your-hands grooves. At their best, the quintet deliver clever, concise anthems such as album openers "Apple" and "Best Supporting Actor." The former opens with staccato strums and crisp harmonies from Ian Anderson and Grace Fiddler, then spasms into a fit of gurgling, sputtering guitars. The latter represents the album's finest moment, tailored for indie radio while flirting heartily with the mainstream. Anderson dishes up quirky lyrics like "I can be the back story/Chock-full of backbone and literary prowess" that make for instant hooks and put saccharine lines like "Tell me that you want me/Tell me that you need me" into context within One for the Team's bushy-tailed master plan.
The aural pep the band exudes nearly masks the uncertain, lovelorn currents bubbling beneath, as in the paranoid "Dress Up Party," which begs the question "Who do you dress up for/When I'm not around?" Its heavy guitars and solid vocal delivery make it a standout, redolent of Tegan and Sara with, quite literally, more balls. "What Are You Gonna Cry About" peeks into the band's less amiable side, delivering a scolding within a soaring, hum-inducing hook. As usual, Anderson and Fiddler present a unified vocal front so snug one wonders whether they walk around sharing the same pair of shoes.
That unity helps make Build It Up a formidable release from a local band that may not remain local long. With the record on shelves and September looming, take note: it's gonna be a long summer.
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