Laying countrified arrangements over a proliferation of old school hip-hop beats, the debut of Austin, TX-based Sound Team finds parallels with early Beck recordings, both for the melding of disparate styles and for the quirky pop culture references. Similarly hit or miss as well, the band nonetheless manages to carve out a fairly unique niche over 19 tracks. While the vocals seem to be delivered in a somewhat mocking fashion, full of lazy Southern drawl and none-too-sweet tenor harmonies, one shouldn't interpret the apparent irreverence as a lack of sincerity. Authentic Delta blues slide guitar colors the faux gospel of "Help Me Lord," with hammered dulcimer and African drums turning up in "Song From a Dream," proving the bandmembers to be eclectically talented, if not entirely serious, artists. A few songs do seem to fall into a distracting clutter, with a complex patchwork of scratching and sampling sometimes stealing attention from the group's more interesting quirks. Suffering little for choosing a more conventional route, the dusty "Jones Street Blues" brings to mind Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones, just as the quieting acoustic guitar and electric piano of "Papertrails" finds an unexpected delicacy. Further, the dazed vocals and fluttering synths of "Pure Imagination" could almost be mistaken for an Olivia Tremor Control outtake. Also of note are slightly skewed covers of standards like "Baby Please Don't Go" and "I Saw the Light," the later adding the words "meditated and fasted to Yahweh's delight" to rhyme with "praise the Lord, I saw the light." So, even if the vocals are a little too loud in the mix, and many songs would be better served by being about half a minute shorter, Sound Team has certainly taken an entertaining first step.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Fink