The adage goes that everything is bigger in Texas. Sure, Spoon may spartanly get by on the core songwriting skills of Britt Daniel and Jim Eno, but give credit to fellow Austinites Sound Team, which triples those ranks and gets similarly terse results. Originally a four-track recording project between guitarist Matt Oliver and bassist Bill Baird, the Team now rolls six deep. The additional membership paid off, though, as it gives the band a great deal of latitude with sound and texture. With a half-dozen instruments vying for space, there's surprisingly not a wasted or overindulgent moment on Movie Monster, the group's major-label debut after a string of silk-screened cassettes. The guitars snap and whirr on the pounding "Your Eyes Are Liars," while a battery of keyboards (Wurlitzer, Rhodes, and Moog) play various roles throughout Monster: blowing haze over "Afterglow Years"; providing buoyant counterpoints to "No More Birthdays"; heightening the resignation of the title track. The band has opened for the Arcade Fire and the Walkmen in the past, and both provide entry points into its sound: invoking the emotional intensity of the former and the anthemic tendencies and raspy vocals of the latter. The album's highlight, though, is "TV Torso," its six minutes proving that Krautrock's taut, Autobahn pulse drives equally well out on the open Texas highway. Easily the most exciting slice of indie rock since !!!'s "Me and Giuliani" (or Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #3"), the song also evokes Berlin-era Bowie, squiggling and expanding so as to sound as huge as Sound Team's home state.
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