Up until a few years ago, the genre of shoegaze was nowhere to be seen. But one event after another brought distorted guitars and atmospheric vocals back into the public conscience — specifically, the returns of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Ride. It seems that the craze has spread to the United States, and now even the heartland state of Kansas is getting in on the action. Wichita natives Team Tremolo give shoegaze an immersive edge with Intruder EP. While they don’t necessarily forge a unique path across the release’s five songs, they show their potential to deliver quality tunes nonetheless.
Opener “Slipping the Noose” burns slow, but it also burns bright. As the instruments crash down in unison, the band spews out elements of sludgy alternative rock and noise rock. The combination of genres is nothing new, but Team Tremolo undoubtedly captures the listener’s attention with exciting build-ups and energetic vocals. The song’s biggest selling point is a memorable guitar riff, but moody baselines and whispering guitar chords add a lot to like. Unlike the first track’s careful focus, “The Waif” feels a lot more wiry. Splattering the canvas with groovy melodies and reverberating ambience, it’s a solid jam session from beginning to end.
The next track, “Safe Intruder” continues to find the band digging into their atmosphere, as it slowly climbs before erupting in grungy guitar parts and drum smashes. Singer Jenny Wood holds everything together as the instrumentalists chug along. Don’t expect anything heavenly like Bilinda Butcher or dreamy like Rachel Goswell, as Wood pierces through the noise with rugged emotion throughout the release. “Blood Moon” returns to the structure of the opener, with tranquil verses contrasting heavy choruses and allowing both to be felt in full. “Worship You” is the EP’s best ‘90s tribute, with religious references and ambient guitars reminding heavily of Souvlaki. Yet, the band still finds time to do what they do best: crushing listeners with their alt-rock vigor.
There’s no doubt that Team Tremolo wants to be associated with the shoegaze genre. After all, it’s in their name. Even if they don’t yet stick sonically like other modern acts Nothing or Whirr, they still showcase their expert knowledge and skills on this five-song romp. It’s clear from this introduction that they click as a unit — and more than that, they also have the ability to write crafty songs. Intruder EP displays this fivepiece’s tight-knit, rock-oriented shoegaze sound in full force, simultaneously showing that they have plenty of room to progress.
Shoegaze/Rock | Air House Records