Upon its release in 1996, Drill Team's four-song debut seemed to signify it was an alt-rock band on the verge of something bigger, even though that '90s-era subgenre was already somewhat passé by the time the group arrived on the scene. At the time, Drill Team closely resembled the Smashing Pumpkins in style and substance (if not exactly in its songs), and the folks at Reprise's In Bloomimprint hoped that Drill Team's honeyed, commercially viable tunes would bring them as much success as the Pumpkins had brought to Virgin worldwide. Drill Team was paired up with Midwest-based producer Keith Cleversley, who had already created magic with Spiritualized, the Flaming Lips, and Mercury Rev, among others, and the two tracks that resulted from that alliance -- "Pluto My Cream" and "Drippin" -- were, indeed, the better efforts. Lead vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Michael Long's soporific, whisper-soft vocals and fuzz-dripping stratospheric guitars are simply immersed in Cleversley's sonic frippery. The other two tracks went for the same effect, albeit with lesser results. Things went into a downturn after the release of this EP, however. Rhythm guitarist Chris Etzer left the band due to personality conflicts with Long. Then, Reprise sent Drill Team off on an experimental regional U.S. tour that saw the band playing a few cities over and over for weeks on end (how annoying it must have been for the people of Dallas or Boston who simply wanted the band to leave town!). When Drill Team's long-awaited full-length debut arrived, Hope and Dream Explosion turned out to be somewhat aptly named, as the group's hopes and dreams did just that. The inner band strife continued, and drummer Jim Mills and Long's longtime friendship finally, if not abruptly, came to an end. Perhaps Mills had the right idea all along, hiding under the moniker "Sowbug Lord" (and later calling himself "Apollo Strange"). After Drill Team's demise, the bandmembers went their separate ways. Michael Long formed a new band, Army, in 2000.
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AllMusic Review by Bryan Thomas