Real Lessons in Cynicism
Release Date: October 28, 2015
First things first, I’m obsessed with futbol (soccer). So when I saw there was a band on Dischord called Soccer Team I knew we were destined to be in love from the get-go. Real Lessons in Cynicism has proven that predicted result to be completely true. Soccer Team is a genre-defiant band from DC made up of Ryan Nelson (Beauty Pill, Minutes), Melissa Quinley, Dennis Kane & Jason Hutto (The Aquarium, Warm Sun). Their prior record “Volunteered” Civility and Professionalism was made by only Nelson & Quinley and the addition of two additional members has made for a stronger team (see what I did there?).
So what does Real Lessons in Cynicism sound like? Let’s see… Ryan Nelson has a really clipped staccato delivery that melds really nicely with Quinley’s haunting vocals. Their voices trade off weaving back and forth throughout the course of the record. The songs are indie-rock/post-punk/shoegaze with strong bass lines, splashes of keyboards in all the right moments, angular guitars and steady snappy drumming. Maybe this Soccer Team’s is influenced by a mixture of Q and Not U, Rainer Maria, Milemarker & My Bloody Valentine? Take that combination and make it sound like Dischord Records. I don’t know how else to put it. It’s not that this Soccer Team is playing with a formation that hasn’t been done before, but it’s just not one that is exactly like anyone else is using.
I’ve tried to pin down a favorite track on this album, but there are 5 or 6 that are all my favorites depending on which I’m listening to at the moment. “Dinner With Derelicts” is an awesome quick post-punk jam that would fit in on Milemarker’s Frigid Forms Sell You Warmth. “Problems With Prolonged Youth” is a snappy number that shows how perfectly Nelson and Quinley’s voices float together. The award for most angular number goes to “Best Employed New Beau” with its beautifully off-kilter guitar dual. Biggest bummer that redeems itself has to go to “We Need To Talk”, a somber number that has a hauntingly poppy introduction before diving into a post-punk jam session that doesn’t fit but yet fits together perfectly. “Nose to Chin” is an angular dive into the punkier side of what Soccer Team can do. Crazy vocals rant that sound borderline insane goes to "Heres Why Dancers Smoke" with it's borderline obnoxious use of repetition that is ultimately extremely captivating.
All in all Soccer Team has managed to build something that is an excellent melding of different sounds together. Real Lessons in Cynicism is a great example of what a mature team of musicians can do when they build something incorporating all of their influences. This record doesn’t sound the same tracks 1-14, but instead builds on a theme of angular guitars and male/female vocal interplay. Give this record your time, it will reward you. This soccer team has won the league this time out.
Reviewed by: Rob 1340