TEEN - Love Yes

by Jeff Penczak Rating:6 Release Date:2016-02-24

The bevy of Brooklyn beauties are back with their third album of bouncy synth tunes, proving there’s still life in those ol’ 80s dance riffs, a la Human League, A Flock of Seagulls, Depeche Mode, et al. Teeny Lieberson’s Debbie Harry-meets-Betty Boop-oop-a-doop vocals are still an acquired taste, but her sisters and bassist buddy Boshra provide soothing harmonies and backing vox that make everything go down as smooth as a milkshake on a hot summer afternoon.

Namedropping Madonna on opener ‘Tokyo’ also signposts the light and fluffy, but occasionally overly slick moves ahead. As do the poses the gals pull on the cover: like those models from Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love’ video.

           ‘Gone For Good’ slows the adrenaline down for a pleasant little ballad with chirping backdrops and typically robotic drum machine backing, but the harmonies are cute and Teeny reins in the bombast and bravado long enough for us to care about her miserable love life and that rat that left her dangling. It borders a little too much on current Top 40 malaise and cookie cutter copycats to forge much of an identity for itself, but it does offer a welcome change of pace from all the dangerous dance moves that preceded it.

     On the other hand, ‘Another Man’s Woman’ isn’t sure what it wants to be when it grown up, leaving us scratching our heads over the rather dull arrangement, semi-feminist, “You go, girl” nonsensical lyrics and some lazy synth flourishes that sound like something bubbling out of Lawrence Welk’s horn section.

     There’s a giddy, Kate Bush-y bleating weaving around and throughout ‘Example’ (culminating in an entirely inappropriate sexy jazzy skronk sax outro) that segues into the noisily annoying ‘Animal’ that sounds like band practice at the local school got out of hand, but I quite liked the chirpy ‘Free Time’ that suggests the Spice Girls haven’t lost all of their appeal. The sax solo was unsettling at the end of ‘Example’, but to repeat the feat at the coda to ‘Superhuman’ and ‘Noise Shift’ suggests it’s intentional. And annoying. Leave the jazzbos behind or give them something constructive to do.

     Saving some of the better tracks for the end, ‘Noise Shift’ is bubbly cotton candy for the ears with some lovely harmonies, as is the almost-too-cute-for-words title track – a bit of Prince-meets-Tom Tom Club out nightclubbing with Kate Bush, and then ‘Push’ wraps it all up with something that ABBA might've tossed off during a backstage break. So it's not a total surprise that the gals stick to their successful formula, but for some that might not be enough to give this more than a few curiosity spins to see and hear what they're up to.

 

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