Hearing the sounds that comprise Teen Daze’s latest album All of Us, Together is like listening to music underwater. The sounds are drawn out, blurry, and sometimes indistinguishable without the auditory equivalent of squinting–but there is also something pretty and soothing about them. The overarching melodies of this album wave and ripple, following a current of heavy flange and phaser effects over a simple and tame semi-House, -Trance or -Disco rhythm. Tracks like “Late” and “Brooklyn Sunburn” are particularly upbeat, but the album overall tends to be more waning than waxing. The electronic sound motifs melt the album into a mass of songs that is as warm and lovely as it is indicative of something with a more precise shape.
The flowy, under-the-seaness of this album is likely intentional, especially when considering the album art and the first track “Treton.” The music video for this song is old-looking footage of the ocean and its creatures. The video and music go with and against each other’s currents of sound and image, much the way Teen Daze layers melodies that at times are in harmony but at other times are in contest. The different melodic flows randomly arrive at a surprisingly glorious point that is not melodic, but rather noisy and convoluted in a refreshing way, such as at the end of the third track “Cold Sand”. Now and again, all the sonic waxing and waning ended up at a full moon.
In other tracks, instead of layered melodies, rhythm appeared to be the main focus. The seventh track “Erbstück,” based on its club beat alone, might be the dance floor hit of the album, if that was an intention of the artist. About halfway in, some vague vocals come in to compliment synthetic melodies that dominate much of the album. I would have liked to have heard more of this mixing of textures on the album, especially in songs that are just a bit too long, or relied on repetition, synth arpeggios, and too-subtle build ups. Oftentimes, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to want to dance or just lie down in my bed and chill out. But I suppose something being “dancing vs. listening music” is one of the greatest and oldest debates about music enjoyment. Teen Daze seems to want to exude neither, but rather find some cozy spot nestled among the Chillwave, Ambient, and Indie Pop genres.
The music and rhythms of All of Us, Together aim at deepness (as that of the ocean) but come off playful and friendly, like a more mature and pensive track playing with footage of a Steve Zissou documentary–this being in nerdy reference to the Wes Anderson flick The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (which has original music composed by Mark Mothersbaugh), of course. Although there is still room for Teen Daze to grow and find more balance between album consistency and song individuality, the experimental, genuine composition on All of Us, Together did yield several moments of triumph as well as an album that overall has a unique tone and “sound” to it.
Don’t miss Teen Daze play Schuba’s Tavern, 07/12 with White Arrows and Beat Connection