Indie pop in 2012 is crowded with bands who sound like they want the closing track on an '80s Rom-Com. Drowned in synths, blissful melodies, and weak-ass saxophone solos, the genre dangles its sequin-studded feet over the edge, threatening a descent into regurgitated nothingness. Good thing Kristina "Teeny" Lieberson and her new outfit TEEN are here with their inaugural album In Limbo. Teeny, the former keyboardist for Brooklyn heavyweights Here We Go Magic, struck out on her own early this year, recording on her off time and playing around the city.
"Once we started playing more shows, it felt like the band was getting more into it and we were catching some momentum," she said. "I felt like I couldn't ignore it, that it was time for me to pursue this as its own thing."
With the help of producer Peter Kember, aka Sonic Boom, of the influential psych-noise auteurs Spacemen 3, TEEN began to explore a wilder vein than that of their early shows.
"The psychedelic and weird stuff was definitely there before, but Pete came in and definitely stepped it up, adding an alien element to the record," she said. TEEN can shift from straight-ahead pop, like album opener "Better," to the drunk-on-the-beach, spaced-out heartbreaker "Come Back."
"Electric," In Limbo's first single, may be the single strongest cut on the album. The band digs into a menacing bass line and a simple kick-and-snare beat, then layers the track with eerie samples, haunting vocals, and a killer guitar solo straight from the Jesus and Mary Chain playbook. A natural elegance resonates through In Limbo, in part because the band is composed of Teeny, her sisters Lizzie and Katherine, and close friend Jane Herships. "We're very comfortable," Teeny said. "The band's all on the same page, which is nice."
Teeny has adapted nicely to the role of frontwoman.
"I feel like now I couldn't go back to being a keyboard player," said Teeny, who now sings and plays guitar. "My role in Here We Go Magic was to create soundscapes. But now it's on me to translate the show."
And, as she sings on "Better," "I'll do it better than anybody else."
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