All of Us, Together
When Teen Daze released his debut album, Four More Years, back in the summer of 2010, he managed to slide himself seamlessly into the ‘chillwave’ aesthetic. At the time, the blogosphere was still thoroughly excited about this new way of making old music, with Toro Y Moi’s Causers of This seemingly cementing Chillwave’s place in alternative culture circa 2010.
Almost 2 years later and after countless calls for Chillwave’s head on a platter, Teen Daze has ignored the naysayers and crafted an album of 9 solid tracks that would no doubt have been pounced upon and dutifully praised at the first signs of its conception if this was a sound that hadn’t been thoroughly pillaged over the last few years. But it would be lazy and ignorant to criticize this record simply for the fact that it plays up to the aesthetics of a genre that probably hit its peak 2 years ago; because whilst context does have a part in determining our overall perceptions of a record, it doesn’t change the actual sound of the music. And what Teen Daze has managed to create in All of Us, Together sounds fantastic.
Album opener, "Treten," very much sets the tone of All of Us, Together, its preset-ish drum hits giving the track a clear sense of movement that works perpetually throughout the album, whilst arpeggiating sci-fi synth swirls invoke mental images of cruising through space in the sort of contraption that might have fallen out of an 80’s b movie. Play this record in the car whilst driving through a city at night and you’ll feel like a total badass.
All of Us, Together is, however, a little slow to start. The first 4 or so tracks bounce along in a way that is by no means unpleasant, it’s just that they seem to deny us the sort of vibes that the second half of the album treats us to. On "Brooklyn Sunburn," the aforementioned vibe takes off, like a great release of pressure, the track breaths long and ethereal ‘ooohs’, the kind that make your head loll to one side and your brain start to melt like hot wax.
"The Future" adds the only real splash of vocals to the album, which are distant, yet just about defined enough to appreciate their timbre. But "Erbstück" is this record’s most precious gem. It glows triumphantly with monosyllabic vocal cuts ricocheting against each other and subsequently bonding to create a beautiful, airy, synthesized bliss.
I think what separates this record from its contemporaries in the ‘chillwave scene’ is its clear movement away from the more organic sounds present in most albums of its ilk. In short, the synths sound synthy*. And for some people that might be a turn off, but to me, it shows that Teen Daze has worked to find a more original groove for All of Us, Together to sit in. Granted, there are some skin deep similarities between this record and others of its type, but if you come away from All of Us, Together thinking that it’s ‘just another chillwave album,’ then you probably haven’t been listening closely enough!
* This line is probably the best thing I’ve ever written; if you too are a music journalist, please do not be tempted to steal it. Thanks.
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