“Is this your ticket to paradise?” TEEN frontwoman Teeny Lieberson asks on “Paradise,” the second track from the Brooklyn quartet’s latest EP, Carolina. From their youth-oriented name to their bright, expansive sound, TEEN seem willing and able to make all your dreams come true. Still, though, there are small hints of shadow on Carolina; a subtle, yet thoroughly sharp edge that strikes when you least expect it. By the end of “Paradise,” Lieberson has added an intriguing follow-up to her original question: “It’s your ticket to paradise/Then why are you already dead?” Soon, the track burns out with a slow, scorching haze.
Just one year after their compelling debut, In Limbo, TEEN are already a horse of a different– and fittingly more psychedelic– color. Where In Limbo experimented with a wide variety of genres and sounds, TEEN are far more focused on Carolina, demonstrating different degrees of bright, voluptuous psych-pop throughout a concise collection of five tracks. From epic, ethereal opener “Carolina” to the final buzzing seconds of the totally trippy closer “Circus,” the Carolina EP is an expert blend of psych, synth-pop, and new wave that somehow translates to one cohesive, completely vivid new creation.
After “Paradise” trails off into the distance, the delicate “Glass Cage” switches things up, with Lieberson’s high, light vocals positively sailing over a trance-like background. On Carolina, TEEN are five-for-five; there simply isn’t a bad track in the bunch. Still, I’m partial to “Cannibal,” a warped, wonderful thrill ride that’s as weird as it is fun.
It’s a beautiful thing when a promising new band finds their niche, and that’s precisely what the Carolina EP does for TEEN; Lieberson and pals are settling into their new digs, making them their own, and we’re reaping the benefits. Pretty groovy, no?
4 / 5 bars