Team LG: The Way We Do It
Kennington Recordings

Listening to Team LG's album debut The Way We Do It, Psapp and Múm invariably spring to mind but, despite the similarities, London-based 'borderline agoraphobics' and one-time romantic partners Mr L and Little G (Galia Durant) craft a unique sound all their own. Sure, there's a familiar lo-fi production style (songs were built using a cheap sampler and four-track) and found-sound sensibility that configures a cornucopia of objects into arresting arrangements (the title song sounds like it includes typewriter and Celeste, among other things), plus a strong emphasis on simple and direct melodic structures. Though glockenspiels, violins, mandolins, and melodicas give the songs a rickety quality, it's Durant's smooth croon and Mr. L's cockney whisper that lend the album its individuating character.

Her subtly soulful delivery is captivating on “It's OK” and “On Fire” whilst her dreamy vocal in the melancholy “Big Man” entrances—a voice more in common, frankly, with Dido than Kristin Anna Valtýsdóttir. Nakedly exposed, Durant's buttery voice glides deliciously over a creaking base in “Words Run Dry” but is even more affecting in the lament “Over and Out,” where she ponders a relationship's end alongside the purr of clarinet and harp. Elsewhere, Mr. L's gravelly whisper provides striking contrast yet is musical in its own way, his voice gracing three songs: “These Things Happen To You,” which might just as easily be called a night-time lullaby or light tech-house shuffle, the bouzouki-flavoured “My Little Ache,” and, best of all, the sweetly rocking chant “Little Anne.” Two gentle instrumentals appear as well (the nostalgic “Not a Lot of Nice Days” pairs a Philip Glass piano fragment with melodica), but it's ultimately the songs' understated hooks and the duo's distinctive vocalizing that accounts for the album's charm.

January 2006