Teengirl Fantasy - Tracer

by Rich Morris Rating:7 Release Date:2012-08-20

Teengirl Fantasy's second album finds a way to marry the lysergic, jazzy hip-hop of Flying Lotus to the ambient house vibes of The Orb and The KLF. As you'd expect from that description, it's a trippy, far out affair. Full disclosure: this record features pan pipes. But fear not; there's a darkness underpinning tracks such as the squelching, seething 'End' and the clattering 'Inca' which stops Tracer floating off with the fairies.

A late 80s/early 90s house feel runs strongly through the album, popping and undulating all over the likes of the excellent 'Vector Spray'. Where first album 7AM mixed Balearic synths with early Chicago house, Tracer is trickier to pigeon-hole, casting its net wider. Skeletal UK bass percussion bangs against tidal synth washes on opener 'Orbit', while 'EFX' and 'Pyjama' (featuring Panda Bear) are sensual, jazz-inflected, after-hours ballads spiced with innovative beats and infectious electro-pop melodies which hook into your brain after a few listens.

This duo is definitely pushing boundaries, but the avant-garde feel of the early part of the album recedes as Tracer goes on. The latter part of the album sounds like a more straightforward tribute to much-loved club sounds, which mostly isn't a bad thing. Only 'Do It', saddled with Romanthony's irritating, try-to-hard vocals about, erm, 'doing it' is a real misstep. A shame, because the melody, reminiscent of Aphex Twin's 'On', is rather lovely.

After this blot, Tracer recovers, ending in fine form with 'Timeline', an excellent electro/house workout. Overall, this is a scatter-shot and slightly unfocussed album which might have been improved by some smarter track sequencing. As it is, Teengirl Fantasy sometimes sound unsure whether to go for the dancefloor jugular or stay on the sidelines throwing interesting shapes. For the most part, they do better when it stick to the latter. With all that said, though, Tracer's high points are undeniably impressive.

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