In an about-face from his previous role as synth and sample man for sprightly indie-tronica heroes Passion Pit, Brooklyn's Ayad Al Adhamy traded in his Korg for a Telecaster and formed Team Spirit, a straight-up, hard-rocking, power pop combo. A self-released five-song EP appeared in early 2012 and eventually won them a deal with Warner-affiliated Vice Records. On their 2014 debut LP, Killing Time, they offer up ten solidly built tunes in the classic power pop mold that blend bits of Cheap Trick with some Thin Lizzy riffing and bit of '90s fuzz pop. It's a tried-and-true recipe and the band hammers out their spartan, meaty rockers with apparent zeal and attitude. Produced by Adhamy, Killing Time leads off with "Surrender" and "Satisfaction," two of the album's finest cuts, both boasting strong, memorable melodies and airtight arrangements. The pace is quick and to the point: all rock, no filler, no ballads, no acoustic songs. Adhamy's voice is rough but tuneful with a distinct pop-punk snarl that fits the bill, and his harmonies throughout are well-placed but not invasive. Another standout, "Closer," is peppered with sweet, melodic guitar leads that are countered with a particularly menacing chorus. When it comes to dialing in on some of rock's classic moves, Adhamy is well studied and if anything, that's one of Killing Time's failings. Rock's bag of tricks is deep, but it's been plundered for decades now and it can be tough to keep these classic formulas sounding fresh. Still, even if Team Spirit aren't necessarily bringing anything new to the potluck, they've definitely crafted some durable and extremely catchy songs.
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AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger