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August 28, 2012

6

Album Review: TEEN ‘In Limbo’

by @thoughtontracks

Upon hearing of Brooklyn’s TEEN, you will likely be fed a shallow narrative that unfolds something like this: Rock chick leaves successful up-and-coming band. Rock-chick joins up with sisters and friends to form all-girl electro pop group. Look at them now. Aren’t they cute? (For evidence, see our Band to Watch post)

While this storyline is an accurate assessment of how Kristina “Teeny” Lieberson’s new project TEEN came to be, it fails to do their debut LP In Limbo justice. The album kicks off with “Better.” A song whose girl-power infused hook could be easily substituted for the shitty rendition of Irving Berlin’s “Anything You Can Do” from that old Mia Hamm vs. Michael Jordan Gatorade commercial. Yet, set against the backdrop of intricately woven synth and vocal lines and a foot stomping rhythm section, the chorus proves more irresistible than trite.

Follow-up “Come Back” is my favorite cut from the LP. The song turns the traditional narrative of the desperate female on its head. Here, Teeny spends the chorus begging for the return of a lost love. In the verses, though, we learn that her loneliness comes as the result of loving and leaving too many half-forgotten names on the road to now. Her regret stems not from whether she may one day find love, but rather the thought that she may have already cast it aside. A familiar storyline from your male rock n’ roller, but rarely one told from the female perspective.

Rather than present their brand of girl-pop in concise, pre-packaged three-minute infomercials, TEEN has chosen to challenge its audience. Seven of In Limbo’s 11 tracks stretch beyond five minutes. The band’s attempt to break down and re-purpose the traditional notion of a pop song is an admirable one, but testing the limits of listeners’ ever-shrinking attention spans proves a dangerous decision on a debut.

The B-side of In Limbo occasionally loses its focus, dissolving into trippy meditations. Even those moments manage to hit their mark on tracks like “Sleep is Noise” and “Fire“. The good news is that the few songs that fell flat for me on the album, I found captivating in the stripped down space of TEEN’s Secret Garden video session. Typically the reverse is true, a successful cut off the LP proves completely dysfunctional in a live setting. It’s an encouraging trait for a new band in an era in which live gigs provide the meat and potatoes and album sales increasingly cover dessert.

With a four-track EP and a fascinating mix tape of covers under their belt, TEEN is a band that appears road-ready from Jump Street. These girls have achieved an astonishing amount of depth both sonically and lyrically on In Limbo. This is achieved largely through a masterful layering of vocal arrangements and a relentless willingness to explore. Grab your copy of In Limbo from Carpark Records. Stream it in its entirety below.

Connect with TEEN via Facebook | Twitter

Written by Rob Peoni

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 5 2013

    Would you mind if I quote a several of your
    articles or blog posts as long as I provide credit and sources back
    to your site: https://thoughtontracks.com/2012/08/28/3958/.
    I am going to aslo be sure to give you the appropriate anchor-text hyperlink using your webpage
    title: Album Review: TEEN In Limbo | Thought on Tracks.
    Please make sure to let me know if this is
    ok with you. Thank you

    Reply
    • Mar 24 2013

      The quotes would have to be short. I’m not down for duplicate content at all, but shoot me an email. rpeoni [at] gmail [dot] com

      Reply
  2. I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering issues with your blog. It appears as if some of the written text in your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too? This could be a issue with my browser because I’ve
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    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Editor’s Pick: Top Music Releases of 2012 | Thought on Tracks
  2. Video: TEEN visits Newtown Radio | Thought on Tracks

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