Release Date: Apr 22, 2014
Record label: Carpark Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
In less than two years since TEEN released their solid debut In Limbo, the resurgence of R & B jams within indie music has altered the music world. The effects of this change overwhelm Teeny Lieberson and family’s follow-up LP. Standout tracks like “More Than I Ask For,” “All the Same” and “Not For Long” are heavily influenced by Lorde’s almighty chart-topping power.
It’s easy to get lost in the clockwork of TEEN’s new album. The harmonies produced by the Brooklyn band don’t just dress Teeny Lieberson’s lead melodies; they lock into them like two gears meshing. Each song on The Way and Color propels itself forward with uncanny precision, eschewing the scuffed-up charm of contemporaries like HAIM in exchange for crystalline R&B smoothness.
Teen’s second album is a sharp turn away from their previous work. The quartet, led by singer Teeny Liberson, replace the raw psychedelica of debut album ‘In Limbo’ with a silkier, more soul-infused sound. Armed with a wide array of instrumentation, it’s an ambitious attempt at an extravagant pop record and, at their best, the band show a deft touch for layered orchestration.
Indie pop’s relationship with R’n’B has gone, in recent years, from a sideways glance flirtation to an all-out love affair. Originally a marginal dalliance, now the mainstream of alternative pop has embraced swung drums, smooth melodies and slow burning synths. It’s hard to believe that 20 years ago, the rock avant-garde were, to quote Jerry Seinfeld, mumbled low talkers.
Indie rock’s appropriation of mainstream pop sensibilities is a trend that continues to produce exciting results. The xx covering Aaliyah’s “Hot Like Fire”, “Wrenning Day” by Ava Luna, and the arty twists St. Vincent has applied to pop tropes on her new self-titled release have all led us on exciting divergences from the untheatrical indie template.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Switching their style from murky psychedelic, reverb rock to slinky R&B might prove to be a divisive move for Brooklyn band TEEN. Cutting out the dark heart of their previous work and replacing it with a pulsing, throbbing blissed-out vibe may see lovers of their old material set of in search for their space-rock fix someplace else.
Were Teeny Lieberson the protagonist of a pulp novel, you could see the cover advertising her adventures with a slogan along the lines of: “Teeny name… big voice!” The literal namesake of TEEN doesn’t sound anything like her figurative one: Her voice is chameleonic and firmly in command, capable of twisting into a demanding growl or ringing out like the horns that often punctuate the band’s newest album, The Way and Color. It’s the fault line on top of which TEEN’s art rock dance party is built. When she rumbles, the band (comprised of sisters Lizzie and Katherine on keys and drums, and newcomer Boshra AlSaadi on bass) rumbles; when she’s calm, they ease into their open-hearted groove.
Produced by Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom, Teen's 2012 debut, In Limbo, was sporadically diverting indie de table. The follow-up, then, comes as something of a surprise, employing a far wider palette of influences. Kristina "Teeny" Lieberson's honeyed vocals are backed by supple and sinuous rhythms that at times evoke Talking Heads but more often sound like Haim might if their principal reference point was early 00s R&B rather than Fleetwood Mac.
It’s hard to hold restlessness and impermanence against a band named TEEN. Last heard on 2013’s Carolina EP, TEEN was leaning heavily on kraut and psyche influences, their instrumental motorik paired nicely with frontwoman Teeny Lieberson’s melismatic polyphony. Returning with a full-length less than one year later, TEEN now present themselves as a dub- and Afrobeat-influenced prog-R&B thing.
Settling in with a newfound directness, the initially promising ‘The Way and Color’ showcases a penchant for a bolder sound, before frequently losing itself in its narrow, swerving path. TEEN may have cleaned up their sound for this third album, but the Brooklyn outfit have also distanced themselves from their songwriting talents.There are moments when ‘The Way and Color’ flourishes with intention, but for the most part the mark is a little too scattershot. From the second the album starts with ‘Rose 4 U’, there’s a stark change in tone from the band’s past work.
Teen, a four-woman band from Brooklyn, has de-fuzzed itself after its drone-loving, low-fi, psychedelia-infused 2012 debut album, “In Limbo.” Clarity is a must on Teen’s second album, “The Way and Color” (Carpark), because the band’s new songs bloom with vocal harmonies and double down ….
It is difficult to define where TEEN falls on the genre spectrum. Harmonious as they are experimental, their second album, The Way and Color, sounds like they recorded some conventional R&B vocals and then sent them to a gaggle of jazzy space robots for production tweaking. While frontwoman Teeny Lieberson’s voice may strike just the right balance of sultry and raspy, don’t expect this album to get you in that mood, exactly.
Although born from the splintering of Brooklyn band Here We Go Magic (the band is named for Kistina ‘Teeny’ Lieberman, former HWGM Keyboardist), Teen have a brand of psychedelic pop which not only extricates them from the shadow of Lieberman’s previous project, but which marks them as distinct from just about any other all-girl group out there. For that matter, it marks them as distinct from pretty much any other group working at the moment, regardless of gender. But there is something particularly inspiring about a group of young women working with such uncompromising creativity.
TEEN experimented with so many different sounds on their previous album that it seemed unlikely they'd ever settle on just one style. However, on The Way and Color, they've done just that -- and it was one of the few they didn't touch on In Limbo. Inspired by D'Angelo and Erykah Badu and joined by new bassist Boshra AlSaadi, the Lieberson sisters put their own stamp on R&B, and the results are just as ambitious and even more exciting.
TEEN – The Way and Color (Carpark)When Here We Go Magic keyboardist Teeny Lieberson struck out on her own as TEEN with the early-new wave blog bait of 2012’s In Limbo, it felt promising but not quite convincing — things just seemed a little too tidily packaged. You know what I mean: Brooklyn, the backstory, Spacemen 3’s Pete Kember on board for production, even the name and late summer release date seemed designed for carefree Labor Day barbecues and little more. “Better” and the noticeably coarse “Electric” aside, the stuff had a sweetly short shelf life.With The Way and Color, Lieberson is leaning on her vocal talents in a way that she hasn’t before.
Future, Honest Future’s mercilessly AutoTuned voice is one of mainstream rap’s most omnipresent. The guy’s built a pop empire by cannily anticipating and then mining the fertile nexus of nearly every on-trend sound enjoying its fifteen minutes on urban radio. The question Future loves to pose is: Why listen to marquee names (think Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, the Weeknd, or Drake) when you can listen to another marquee name that sounds like all those artists, all at once, without scanning as excessively derivative? On Honest, his latest full-length, Future sells a fashionably high-gloss take on everything from bombastic braggadocio to moody R&B emoting, playing a broad field when a line like Drake’s “Always money on my mind” (from “Never Satisfied”) can ring as stone-cold tough one minute and self-pityingly harrowing the next.