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Teengirl Fantasy


[Merok / True ; 2010]

By ; September 14, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Over the course of the last year, a lot of genuinely interesting groups and artists have emerged from the “Blog-house” scene that took shape towards the end of the last decade. Joining the likes of Memoryhouse, Gold Panda and Neon Indian in producing squelchy, pastel-hued dance-pop, the already prolific Teengirl Fantasy have set the internet alight with “Cheaters”, the first single from their debut album 7 AM. Burying vocal samples from the Love Committee’s little-known Seventies soul track “Cheaters Never Win” under layers of static, synths and an old-school Chicago house beat, the effect is both euphoric and disorienting. Sounding like an unfamiliar take on an old favourite, or a big-name male diva whose name you can’t quite put your finger on, belting out guest vocals on an indie dance track, it’s one of 2010’s best songs, an instant classic that has put this full-length at the top of many people’s “most anticipated” lists.

Those hoping for an album full of “Cheaters”-like camp disco may need to adjust their expectations; whilst other tracks operate under the influence of steadily pulsing beats, the majority are toned down and stretched out, more suited to bedroom listening than to dancing round handbags. 7 AM is actually an incredibly fitting title for an record like this, perfectly evoking as it does the sliver of time between the end of the night before and the start of the day after. Without wanting to worry their parents, Nick Weiss and Logan Takashi – two Ohio students currently based in Amsterdam – obviously know the feeling of stumbling out of a club at three in the morning and arriving home a few hours later, still too high to sleep but too wasted to know what to do about it; on the evidence of their album’s jarring, disjointed flow, it seems the youthful duo are already veterans of that particular long dawn taxi ride.

Opener “Vibes” sees the pair take strands of numerous shifting rhythms and gradually layer them together until they resemble something close to a 4/4 beat; think Autechre tackling chillwave. The likes of “Make The Move” and “Floor To Floor” slow down the BPM and bathe disembodied vocal snippets in dub-heavy layers of reverb and echo, whilst the closing “Forever The Feeling” bounces along playfully like a techno take on Seventies library music. Only “In The Rain” and “Koi Pond” stand alongside “Cheaters” as feasible dancefloor fodder, the former recalling the baggy beats of early acid house, the latter an intensely moody take on classic Detroit techno. 7 AM‘s only fully realised song (in terms of traditional verse/ chorus structure) is “Dancing In Slow Motion”, an epic R&B slow-jam retooled to soundtrack the big emotional climax of some 80s teen flick. Featuring vocals by Sharon Funchess of upcoming Brooklyn electro-pop act Light Asylum, minor-key chord stabs and synthetic woodwinds are lost inside cavernous electronic drums that would make Phil Collins proud. That such a perfect “last dance” moment isn’t used to close the album is typical of the overriding air of hazy confusion, and of the perverse mischievous humour the duo exhibit throughout.

Despite a relative paucity of what most people would consider populist appeal, 7 AM is far from impenetrable. The album’s shifting, fluid rhythms and hallucinatory feel invite comparison to some of Animal Collective’s poppier output; indeed, Avey Tare has already declared himself a fan. Still, it’s hard to believe – as the duo have claimed when explaining their choice of name – that these are songs to soundtrack the daydreams of the average adolescent female; when I was at school, at least, the girls were more concerned with gossiping about boyfriends than swimming through clouds of drug-induced psychedelia. This is the Class Of 2010 though, and somewhere between Delorean’s crazy foreign exchange students and the introverted How To Dress Well, Takashi and Weiss have set up their own distinct clique. Haunting at times, uplifting at others, 7 AM is one of the finest debuts of the year.


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