The last band I’ll ever discover through rdio’s excellent new music feature (again, RIP), Soccer Team is fronted by a pair of Dischord veterans in Ryan Nelson and Melissa Quinley. Real Lessons in Cynicism has short, subtle rock songs, with split man-woman vocals that are reminiscent of the band’s labelmates The Evens.
Real Lessons in Cynicism is clearly meticulously crafted, as evidenced by the demos and discussion of them the band posted on its bandcamp page, but also never feels like it’s trying too hard. This gives the album a quiet sincerity that separated it from a lot of other rock music that I feel is very desperately attempting to be stylish or “cool.” It also has a lot of my favorite lyrics (and definitely my favorite song titles) of 2015 — many of the songs feel like listening in on interesting conversations with smart friends like “Too Many Lens Flares,” which offers a biting critique of the state of film.
The song on this album that really hit me was “Mental Anguish Is Your Friend.” Fronted by Quinley, it crams a scarily accurate depiction of, well, mental anguish, into its short running time — in particular, it nails how it becomes part of who you are over time.