Norway - Full Moon 186 - 11/10/11
To The Treetops!
Propeller / Universal
Team Me started as Marius Drogsås Hagen's one-man project. Team Me today is a sextet, and they sound good indeed. After a lot of touring (in Norway and abroad),
kudos from the press (including NME) for their self-titled EP, their album debut (released some 3 weeks ago) has left critics with sparkling eyes and ears. Indiepop rules,
To The Treetops! is filled with nifty melodies, rich soundscapes, and cool arrangements. Add some rather elegant song titles ("Riding My Bicycle (From Ragnvalsbekken
To Sørkedalen), "Looking Thru The Eyes Of Sir David Brewster" and "With My Hands Covering Both Of My Eyes I Am Too Scared To Have A Look At You Now" to name the
better), Team Me quite clearly is a shooting star. Or shooting stars. They're for sure aiming way above the treetops.
Albun opener "Riding My Bicycle (From Ragnvalsbekken To Sørkedalen)" is a bubbling pop piece. Imagine a blend of Animal Collective and The Polyphonic Spree. Add
some Danielson and Why?, and you're somewhere near the sound and spirit of Team Me. Sufjan Stevens is another reference when listening to To The Treetops!, especially
when it comes to flowering, blissful vocal harmonies. "Show Me" even brings Lukestar to mind, but without the extreme high-pitch voice of Lukestar's Truls. Yet, they're
not that far away. Lukestar meets MGMT, maybe. Cool. "Patrick Wolf & Daniel Johns" is an ode to, well, Patrick Wolf and Daniel Johns. Who (I guess) are English-Irish
singer-songwriter and Australian composer, guitarist, and pianist (of former Silverchair fame) respectively. Correct me if I'm wrong (I don't really get the lyrics).
The catchiness continues with "Weathervanes And Chemicals", the leading track from their EP. Team Me sound big, and they do it with style. "Looking Thru The Eyes Of Sir
David Brewster" is a more toned-down song, and an ode to Brewster: a Scottish astronomer, inventor, physicist, philosopher, mathematician who invented the kaleidoscope.
Single choice "With My Hands Covering..." follows, and yes, The Polyphonic Spree (and MGMT) yet again springs to mind. But that doesn't matter, as long as a good pop song
bursts with joy and energy. The fine "Daggers" closes the album, and To The Treetops! must without doubt be one of the best debut albums out of Norway for quite
some time. Even if the album stretches for an hour's length, I must admit I can't say it seems to be too long. Which I often feel with albums lasting for more than, say,
40-45 minutes. Well, being a grim producer I would maybe have left one song (maybe two) on the cutting room floor.
I guess To The Treetops! will find its way to the top 10 of Norwegian rock albums when 2011 comes to an end. Maybe even to reach top 5, or top 3, or simply to
the very top. I won't be surprised if they're awarded a Norwegian Spelemann (Grammy) as well.
Copyright © 2011 Håvard Oppøyen