Meet your new favorite band.
Team Me was initially conceived as Marius Hagen’s solo project, but overtime it has evolved into a fully-fledged, six-piece Norwegian pop outfit. The band has released their brilliant self-titled EP: a collection of five beautifully crafted songs, that has more energy, enthusiasm and depth that many other full-length albums only dream of having. Each track builds upon the next, reaching great heights with quirky, lush and jubilant harmonies. Team Me expertly combine Jonsi’s dynamic and frenetic rhythms with Arcade Fire’s orchestral grandeur, in what can only be described as an astounding debut. This EP demands to be heard, and challenges the listener to keep up. We, in turn, can do nothing else but happily oblige.
“Weathervanes and Chemicals” kicks things off seemingly quietly, but the track soon erupts into a vibrant and unrelenting song, with a rousing chorus of male and female vocals, singing: “you turned yourself into a stranger.” It instantly hooks you and sets the tone for things to come. Incidentally, Team Me developed an oddly addictive game to go with the song; it is definitely worth checking out, click here to play it.
The track “Come Down” continues with the opener’s energy; the song swells gloriously with highly infectious harmonies and catchy keyboard hooks, resulting in a majestic piece of orchestral pop. “Dear Sister” starts off with only an accordion, but quickly adopts an eclectic variety of instruments, creating a frenetic and urgent beat. Both songs are indie-pop gems, and certainly the high points of the album, in terms of sheer energy and epic rise-and-falls.
“Me and the Mountain” is a ridiculously gorgeous and poignant song, and probably my favorite of the bunch. The track blossoms beautifully, with swelling harmonies that feel anthemic and self-affirming, but are, in fact, betrayed by the gloomy nature of the lyrics: “things are bad enough as they are.” The soft piano at the very end just melts me… it is heartbreaking. Things slow down quite a bit with the closer track, “Kennedy Street”, a nostalgic and sorrowful song: “i guess sometimes it’s never quite enough when all you do is cry your heart out at night.” It feels almost too mellow until the very end, when female vocals softly kick in, complemented by a piano build-up, taking the track to a whole new level of enjoyment.
The EP unfolds like a story. The first couple of tracks hint – often quite clearly – at drug-addiction. As the EP progresses, so does the narrative, adopting new themes of social detachment, the inability to successfully connect with other people and the loss of love. But what is remarkable is that this story is told against a backdrop of jubilant and uplifting harmonies; this contrast makes for a very interesting, nuanced listen. In accordance with the evolution of the themes, the music transitions as well, in a very fluid manner, from a jubilant frenzy to a slower, more nostalgic tone. By the closing track, it feels like the EP has appropriately come full circle, achieving a very fitting finale. Heck, it feels cathartic.
Team Me has all the makings of a great band, and they just might be one of this year’s hottest and most promising newcomers. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll buy this EP and love it and abuse the repeat button, just like I have. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
“Weathervanes and Chemicals”:
“Me and the Mountain”: