Brooklyn’s TEEN is a band
of sisters, quite literally. Teeny Lieberson, who used to play in Here We Go
Magic, decided she wanted to play music with siblings Katherine and Lizzie. A
new practice space, some new song ideas, probably a couple of beers, and TEEN
was born. Of course, nothing’s ever really that simple, but judging by the
band’s debut album, at times it sounds like the concept for TEEN was.
Mostly, the band picks a
riff and plays it over and over again, building layers of synths and sounds
upon it, with cool, Nico-like vocals anchoring the tune. This can be incredibly
charming, as on the album’s opening track, “Better,” over which Teeny
alluringly sings “I’ll do it better than anybody else” on repeat, often with a
little yip at the end of the phrase. “Electric” is another example, with
echoing snare hits, a single-note bass line, some Blondie-style spoken vocals
and a creepy, descending guitar pattern. But the band also shows some range on
tracks like “Huh,” a mopey synth track that would fit in perfectly on The Cure’s
Disintegration, or “Charlie,” a space
age update on a 1950s girl group number.
The album does lose some
steam as it nears its end, with songs like “Roses & Wine” a ballad that
feels like a rehash of ideas previously toyed with. But overall, the tinny,
sterile production (there is nothing lush about the sounds on In Limbo, nor is there supposed to be)
and the fresh take on psychedelic and indie rock sounds pretty fine.
“Better,” “Electric” JONAH FLICKER