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Music |

Review: Teen Daze – The Inner Mansions

Thursday 18 October 2012
Words Spindle

Whenever an artist makes the move to release more than one album in the space of twelve months, they join an elite group of brave souls who walk the musical tight rope of being a prolific virtuoso and a purveyor of sonic wankery. For every Kid A/Amnesiac combination there is a Use Your Illusion I and II; it can truly be a make or break exercise. With this point in mind, we come to the second release of 2012 from British Columbian Teen Daze, The Inner Mansions and with the strength of previous outing All Of Us, Together noted by all who came across it, there is a lot to live up to. So often do you find a promising act over saturate themselves in a flurry of releases backed by moneymaking record executives and lose all of what made them so brilliant in the first place. It’s a bit of a relief really then, with such potential at stake, that The Inner Mansions not only lives up to, but also surpasses the ambient electro shoe gaze of …Together.  

Heralding, as mentioned, from Canada, it is unsurprising that Teen Daze (the moniker used by producer Jamison) has such a high level of creativity within himself. There isn’t so much of a rehashing of …Together or even a stark contrasting foray into other musical genres, unlike the other kings of current productivity, Death Grips. What Jamison manages to do is elaborate on what could be seen as …Together’s getting ready for the weekend by producing the more reflective and introspective contemplations associated with the Sunday afternoon. He still keeps to the train of elaborative ambience but adds layers of piano that be right at home in the best nineties house music. This is especially seen with Discipleship, the LP’s fourth track with its swirling acoustic piano placed upon a backdrop of electric beats that work in such fine harmony the seven or so minutes it lasts for still leave you still wanting more. And this isn’t a one off for Jamison: on this outing, By Love and Divided Loyalties stand out as tracks that genre heavy weights Washed Out and Boards of Canada would be proud to have in their musical cannons. But that isn’t where the notable forays lie.

Union – featuring Frankie Rose – marks a stark change in sound right in the middle of proceedings. Out of the swelling electronic beats comes a hefty dose of lo-fi that really turns The Inner Mansions on it’s head leads to a pick up of optimism that goes well against the standard upbeat start to melancholic end. Spirit and Garden 2 being the prime examples of this ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ vibe.

Finishing everything of with the note worthy edition of a certain Mr Eno helping out on Always Returning shows that far from being over productive, Teen Daze is releasing prime ambient dance that the whole world should value at a pace that should shock it.

Words: Ben Clark