Robert Deeble‘s “Not on Your Team” is a stately, elegant pop song in protest of the Mars Hill church, an emo evangelist institution that’s enjoyed more than it’s share of bad press. As a Papist transcendentalist myself, I find it hard to understand either the theological basis or the popular appeal of Rollins-esque Bible bros, but then again my people are still adjusting to the Jungian modernity of the acoustic guitar Mass unleashed in the wake of Vatican II. Nevertheless, Deeble does a beautiful job with “Not on Your Team,” which takes apart the Mars Hill facade with the quiet, secure disobedience of lines like “I am not as you seem / I am not on your team.” The song takes the perspective of a believer turning away from the hypocrisy and arrogance of Mars Hill, abandoning the institution while maintaining faith. Musically, the song sits in that pretty, serene place of mid-period Wilco’s best ballads, proving that protest songs can calmly use a scalpel as effectively (or more so) than an explosion.
Robert Deeble will be closing out the night at Conor Byrne on Friday, October 17th for the Ball of Wax 38 release show.