steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Your Team Ring

"In Service of the Villain" CD

Perhaps Transparent

Genres: psychedelic pop, indie pop, experimental pop

Jan 24 - 30 2005

Your Team Ring's Gabriel Walsh is a strange little songwriter.  He has a pop sensibility akin to Elf Power or a more restrained Of Montreal, but he buries his compositions in layers of sound, hiding melodies under glockenspiel, recorder, tape loops, and many other interesting instruments.  The vocals have a young, sweet quality to them (think Sparklehorse or Elf Power), but the elaborate nature of the instruments frequently seems to draw the listener's attention away from the singing.

Key to In Service of the Villain's success is its textural (and stylistic) variety.  Over the duration of thirteen songs, we're pulled into a number of different moods and themes.  Each song is a different experience, making the album seem something like a selection of unique vignettes, each one waiting to pull you into its own little world.  Often the sound is peppy and psychedelic ("Damaged Goods," "Failure of Design"), while at other times it is a little more traditional ("Smiles Wide," "Read Like a Frozen Foundling").  There are also a group of more experimental instrumentals ("Thoughts of Norea," "Who is from Silence") included to even the bunch out.

In Service of the Villain is certainly an album of ingenuity; it combines extremely original ideas with a distinct accessibility.  Trust me; you'd be doing yourself an injustice to ignore such a strangely wonderful album.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 3 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]