TEEN delivers a rich feast of tunes
Lush layer queens TEEN shoot for the stars with their latest EP, the Kickstarter-funded Carolina and boy, do they deliver. The album follows their highly acclaimed debut LP In Limbo which earned the Brooklyn quartet a spot on mxdwn’s Best Albums of 2012 as well as Best New Artist of 2012. Where In Limbo opted for more lo-fi vocals and upped the ante on surf rock and ’60s psych, Carolina rockets forward to uncharted territory.
Opening eponymous track “Carolina” melds effortlessly into the humdrum of “Circus.” Both tracks offer a bit of lo-fi shenanigans on par with indie experimentalists Snowglobe in a carnival-meets-cardigan kind of way. Whether it’s the hilly chords of a reverberating organ or an echo-soaked horn punctuating TEEN’s many harmonies, “Carolina” stands as one of the most sonically engulfing tracks on the EP. Conversely, “Circus” is a ditty reminiscent more of schoolyard chants and carousels. That same organ tone comes roaring back and acts as the driving force speeding into “Cannibal.” 8-bit tones and sparse surf guitar turn this mid-EP track into a feast for the ears. It’s one of the happiest odes to toxic relationships imaginable and when frontwoman Kristina (Teeny) Lieberson tells you “You’re a motherfucking cannibal,” you can’t help but sing along.
“Glass Cage” is perhaps the moodiest track, a slow-burn of a song with vocals two parts echo, one part vibrato, and completely earnest at their core. Closing track “Paradise” harkens back slightly towards the beach-soaked tones that marked In Limbo, but not without taking what they’ve learned from Carolina and concocting something truly special. That aforementioned organ starts sounding a bit more Jefferson Airplane and the percussion-heavy combo of blunt guitars and handclap-happy drums set a firm foundation for an endless jam that rolls through the latter half of the track. Though many see EPs as small offerings and ultimately teasers for larger projects, TEEN neither skimp in quality nor skip a beat in crafting five rich, fully-formed tracks.