Ryan Nelson and Melissa Quinley met while working at Dischord Records. Soon, they started recording music together as Soccer Team in Nelson’s basement, and released a proper album, ‘Volunteered’ Civility and Professionalism, on Dischord in 2006.
Now, the duo has released a new three-song seven-inch vinyl sampler of what’s to come. It opens cleanly with a few guitar strums that quickly become a brooding pattern. “Mental Anguish is Your Friend” is the song, a steady unraveling of thoughts most likely scraped together in those ominous late-night hours. It’s the only track where Quinley sings lead, her voice flattening to monotone as she ends the song with “I failed/Fuck this/Fuck that/We’re all so damned/I know it makes me who I am.”
Nelson’s tunes are more wide-eyed, and he sings in a golden boyish hum, even when he tells St. Thomas Aquinas about how he can’t wait to die on the second track. The music’s still residually menacing, but poppy. “Letter to Saint Thomas Aquinas” is strangely hopeful with shades of fading catechism. Closer “World Series Apathy” is more of the same, with fuzzy chords and a half-catchy melody. Nelson pilots this one, too, but Quinley’s backing vocals brighten up the rainy tune.
Soccer Team isn’t exactly a summertime favorite. With no discernible choruses or big endings, the music can fall flat, but it’s worth spending some time with. You might find something buried under all the rubble.
(Lovitt Records, PO Box 100248, Arlington, VA 22210-9998)