Wasting no time getting to the weightiest of guitars, Intruder, the debut EP by Team Tremolo, makes like their forefathers, Hum, and break for a melodic verse. Sung with a vulnerable flutter, Jenny Wood breaks the clouds of distorted guitars layered by songwriter and band founder William Erickson, guitarist Kristyn Chapman and additional guitarist Thayne Coleman. “Slipping the Noose” starts the release seemingly melancholic and gives rise to an optimistic tone. Bassist Caleb Drummond adds splashes of color to the dense walls of distorted guitar.
Heavily referencing early nineties shoegaze, but not stuck in the darker melodic themes of Grunge-Rock, Team Tremolo allows for occasional jubilation. The soft/loud dynamic constructed by pioneers The Pixies and honed by their successors like Shiner, is evident on Intruder. The low-tuned guitar dredge is noticeably inspired by the wonderful production on Failure’s 1996 release, Fantastic Planet.
The second song, but first single off Intruder, “The Waif” reveals more hook-laden vocals over a repeated chorus and outros with a thick, dissonant guitar architecture that builds tension while somehow simultaneously resolving. Guitar melodies poke out of the corners and recede back into the walls, some fighting each other, others complimenting.
“Safe Intruder” starts like a Sunny Day Real Estate song and slowly crawls to some of the more tantalizingly produced vocals on Intruder. Sounding both like a whisper and distant yell, Wood's vocals make way for slamming guitars and rise above the almost cement-like riffage. "Safe Intruder" sounds like a typical pop arrangement, until the second chorus builds to the album's closest nod to Dinosaur Jr. Dissonant and surprising, the bridge climax ultimately lands on a cloud of bass-driven melody, only to return to the main chorus. The inventive songwriting provides a bed for some wonderful guitar production, but comes off a bit wanton.
“Blood Moon” Is intricately detailed and wonderfully orchestrated, making room for almost synth-pad-like guitar swelling over transient guitar trickles. The most joyous sounding song overall, “Blood Moon” is a perfect canvas for Wood to design some of her most heart wrenching vocal melodies. A Perfect Circle is a quick reference for most listeners over the age of thirty, but that would be selling this song short on representing Team Tremolo’s most unique song on Intruder.
Closing song, “Worship You”, seems to cull the whole of what Team Tremolo is aiming to provide and express to their audience. The ambition is big and the payoff is wonderful. Starting with gentle guitar work over ethereal vocals, the verse sounds like it was drawn from a Malkmus playbook and arranged specifically for Team Tremolo. The set-up is genius, considering the amount of guard let down leading into the bridge. The explosive and chunky guitar is both gratifying and bludgeoning. The distortion fades and the final recall of the opening melody closes Intruder like that of a bedtime story—intimate and soothing.
Recorded at Air House Studios with Micajah Ryan and David Lord, Erickson worked closely with Ryan on the production of Intruder. Mastered by JJ Golden, this release will grab broad attention and will attempt to hold listeners by treating these guitar laden, darkly atmospheric songs with an ear keen to produce pop worthy hooks and melodies. Buy Intruder August 29th by any means you consume digital music.