Reindeer/Tiger Team play a brand of indie rock that has been popular in one style or another for the last decade or so. The first track on the disc, “Boy + Chief” is more along the line of the “emo” music put out by Deep Elm pre-2002, and the minor modifications to what would be a traditional time signature really allows the track to shine. It is primarily the nuanced drums of Eddy on this track, coupled with Steven’s vocals that really give this early track a strong footing. “City (City (Part 1))” begins with the band adopting a step or two from Interpol, and with that influence really being able to create a Spartan bridge on this track that does not always hold the listener’s interest, but really showing the band as innovative and unafraid to fail in their experiment. Starting out “The Captain Says..” with a very straight-forward guitar/drum dichotomy, this strength-sapping Spartanism present in the previous track really diminishes any momentum the disc may have had, even if the music in between these Spartan part verges on the style of new-dance that is populated by bands like The Postal Service.
This Spartanism is the key flaw to a band that continually impresses with every piece of music on their disc; when the band decides to take a step back, it is precisely when the disc tends to go South. Where some individuals may say “less is more”, it is essential that Reindeer/Tiger Team occupy themselves whole-mindedly with their instruments instead of the heady use of silence as some sort of statement. “Get It Out”, the final track on this EP is a track that again hooks the listener from the beginning and really shows the listener what should compromise a Reindeer/Tiger Team track. The guitar bridge on the track is not reduced to a volume level that is virtually indistinguishable; rather, it connects well with the second half of the track and makes for a solid step that mirrors how the disc started off.
Reindeer/Tiger Team has put four tracks down on this EP that I feel really exemplify their sound. The mastering and production values are great for an unsigned band, but the ability to maintain listener’s focus even through near-silence seems to be the biggest fly in the ointment for this band. Remove it and one may just see Reindeer/Tiger Team putting albums out on Kill Rock Stars in a few years.
Top Track: Get It Out
Reindeer/Tiger Team – EP/ 2005 Self / 4 Tracks / http://www.reindeertigerteam.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / Reviewed 27 May 2005