Song: "We Closed A Record Store"
Album: Volunteered Civility & Professionalism
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In what can be seen as a cruel irony, as the decades have progressed and technology has made t easier and less expensive to record and album, the variety in musical sounds has become less and less noticeable. While one would think that, with "anyone" now able to make a high quality recording in the comfort of their own home, new sounds and musical approaches would abound, the truth of the matter is, each year, music seems to become more and more homogeneous. Thankfully, there are still a handful of small record labels across the globe that make it their mission to find the most unique and original music around, and it is within the catalogs of these labels where one can find some very exciting music. Throughout music history, there is perhaps no other label that is as synonymous with original and unique music as the "indie" label that started it all, the mighty Dischord Records. Still going strong after nearly three decades, it is Dischord that was responsible for releasing one of the most wonderfully unique and fresh sounding records in years in the form of the debut (and only) record from the band Soccer Team, 2006's Volunteered Civility & Professionalism. Presenting a wide range of amazing sounds, the album is one of the most diverse and imaginative efforts in years, and each track is just as brilliant as the next. While this makes it rather difficult to pin down a single song that captures their sound, one would be hard pressed to find a better representation than the phenomenal track, "We Closed A Record Store."
At their core, Soccer Team is a duo, consisting of Dischord employees Ryan Nelson and Melissa Quinley. Running the gamut from open, sparse instrumentations to more straightforward, complex arrangements, the pair quickly prove that they are amazingly talented, and once you hear this record, it is impossible to forget. On "We Closed A Record Store," the winding guitar pattern, combined with a solid acoustic rhythm create one of the most intriguing musical sounds in decades. This layering of sounds enables the song to be quite full sonically, yet it remains a rather simple song overall. This works perfectly, as it represents an ideal balance that will please all music fans the same. The sound that Soccer Team achieves also helps to create a fantastic mood on the song, and anyone who has ever spent time in a dimly lit record store will understand that somehow, the group has managed to capture that essence on record. The song also gains a wide range of appeal from the fact that, while it begins as an up-tempo acoustic number, by the end of the song, it has seamless transitioned into a more rock-based piece, making it a song that is somewhat difficult to categorize. The fact that Soccer Team's music is so unique and creatively original is perhaps the key to making this album so impossible to put down after it is experience for the first time.
Playing in perfect harmony with the musical backing, "We Closed A Record Store" serves as the vocal debut of Quinley, and it is truly an impressive start. Bringing a wide pitch range, and clearly an amazing sense of mood and drama, Quinley's vocals are nothing short of mesmerizing, perfectly playing the part of the protagonist on the song. Finding a fantastic balance between "playing it cool" and letting her emotions show, rarely has the "indie chick" attitude been so perfectly captured as it is here. The vocal approach and attitude of Quinley fits perfectly with the songs' lyrics, as they describe in fantastic fashion, a pair of former lovers making a run to their local record shop. While it is not a love song in the traditional sense, in many ways, it describes a relationship far beyond that simple word, as one is left to ponder whether the "magic" of the record store will bring them back together, as the small things, like a wink or a grin, are clearly going on between the pair in the story. While there is a clear sign that there is still a "spark" between the two characters, one can also make a case that the song leaves the two as "just friends," and and there is clearly nothing wrong with this relationship. The slightly ambiguous lyrics, ranging from an affair to two people rekindling a friendship plays brilliantly on "We Closed A Record Store," and the vocal work of Melissa Quinley makes it a truly extraordinary musical moment.
Finding truly original, high quality music has become a far more difficult task over the past decade, as a majority of music has become so dull that there is little question as to why there has been such a sharp decline in record sales. With a majority of bands simply trying to copy whatever the trendy sound is, one must be thankful for the smaller record labels that encourage courageous musical endeavors that stand in contrast to the "money first" approach of most other bands and labels. Having largely pioneered the "power of the small label" ethos, Dischord Records continues to present some of the most exciting and unique bands on the planet, and the duos that they have assembled over the past few years stand as some of the finest in the history of the label. Though they only released a single record, Soccer Team is unquestionably one of the finest releases in Dischord history, and the entire album is truly a musical pleasure to experience. The record, Volunteered Civility & Professionalism, contains a wide range of musical approaches, from quick, smart bursts of energy to beautiful, perfectly orchestrated alt-rock works. Among these is the sensational composition, "We Closed A Record Store," which combines a brilliant musical arrangement alongside the wonderful vocal work of Melissa Quinley. The song is truly like nothing else anywhere in music history, and to properly appreciate both the band and the album, one must experience the sonic beauty that is, "We Closed A Record Store."