Team Sleep

Team Sleep

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Team Sleep's debut was in the works for a long time -- something like ten years. Head Deftone Chino Moreno used to do four-track stuff with high-school pal Todd Wilkinson, and those casual recordings essentially were the genesis for this self-titled set of modernized mood music. The indie rock and dream pop influences drifting throughout Team Sleep appear in Moreno's day job, too, but barring a few stretches here and there ("Blvd. Nights," the end of "Live from the Stage"), hardness and volume are left largely to the Deftones. In fact, besides Moreno's distinctive vocals, there's little connectivity to his other band. There doesn't need to be. Team Sleep is its own thing, a drifting fog of electronic and analog texture with a pool of interesting collaborators and the distinct feel of late-'80s/early-'90s alternative rock. (Team Sleep could probably do an awesome cover version of Catherine Wheel's "Black Metallic.") So, while "Your Skull Is Red" channels Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine underneath Moreno's plaintive wail, "Delorian" and "Staring at the Queen'" are instrumentals built from Wilkinson's spiny guitar leads and the ultramodern programming/turntablism of Crook. Pinback's Rob Crow contributes vocals on four songs, and while he's not as fervent as Moreno, he does give "Princeton Review" and "Ever Since WWI" an indie rock quality that works with their tense guitars. Mary Timony also guests, co-writing "Tomb of Liegia" with Wilkinson and Crook and matching her famously austere vocal to its chilly electronics and lingering piano figure. Her duet of sorts with Moreno on the beat-damaged "King Diamond" isn't as successful, but it's still a noble experiment on an album full of them. And though Team Sleep occasionally becomes too much of a mood album when its layering gets out of hand, it's a consistently interesting listen.

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