Team Sleep is a band featuring Chino Moreno, Zack Hill, DJ Crook and Todd Wilkinson, among others. To date they have officially released one full-length, the 2005 self-titled release. Placed between two Deftones records, this project was met with much enthusiasm, but the end result set some confusion. "Where's the heaviness? I thought this was gonna be like da Deftones? A derp herp derpā?¦"
The more dreamy parts of Deftones were Chino's doing. Songs like "Teenager" and "Digital Bath," both from White Pony, were off-putting to some because of the lack of angst, but they eventually felt welcomed after time had passed. Wanting to show more of this softer side, Team Sleep was formed. There is a rather large area of genres covered here, like shoegaze, dream-pop, trip-hop, lo-fi, ambient and electronica. Not singling out one particular element, each style is intertwined into each of the 15 songs here to great effect.
"Ataraxia" gets things started with programmed beats and Chino's vocals taking on a more echoed tone. There is a semblance of floating in the air, or a hazy dazed feel; ultimately showing the elements of the stylistic choices. Track three, "Your Skull is Red," stands as one of the most intriging. Zack Hill, of Hella fame, gets his time to shine and his amazing skill is showcased with subtle, yet energized patterns. Todd Wilkinson is also essential, laying down nice guitar riffs, along with some interesting keyboard work near the end, giving the song an almost brief psychedelic edge to close it out. The pinnacle though, is "Blvd. Nights." Another standout, and the closest to having a Deftones feel, the song soars and clashes making it memorable, but all too brief. Rob Crow, from Pinback, even guests on a few songs, most notably "Princeton Review," thus making the whole project seem more than just a one-note.
Other highlights included "Ever Since WWI" and it's Mazzy Star, lazy quality; "King Diamond" with its trip-hop raps and beats, plus the guest vocals of Mary Timony from Helium/Wild Flag; and "Live From the Stage," with an eerie, romantic elegance that resembles Brian Eno and Julee Cruise, but then ends with a burst of energy shooting off into a sort of post-metal orgasm. "11/11" also gets an honorable mention for closely resembling the underrated lo-fi band Duster. It's smooth, graceful and gives us a nice ending.
This album was ultimately a test of one's faith in the artists present here based off their past works. The elements of tired, sleepy music are fitting not only because of the band's name, but of the presentation. Careful thought went into every detail, and a solid crafted set of work was made. Chino recently started making music with his other band Crosses, showing some of the same elements as Team Sleep, but the more organic feel lies with this band and the one thing they did here.