Album review: Hard to 'Have Mercy' for Teen Daze's 'The Inner Mansions'
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 23:11
On “The Inner Mansions,” Teen Daze produces overly familiar electronic pop music straight from the bedroom.
It’s hard not to blame Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello, more widely known as Dntel, for this. It’s been nearly a decade since the duo combined to become The Postal Service and released the now platinum-charting “Give Up,” which featured the ubiquitous “Such Great Heights.”
Since then, an entire generation of sensitive dudes with keyboards have plugged into thousands of laptops in thousands of bedrooms, and have all done pretty much the same thing: make mediocre, spacey, pop music.
Vancouver-based producer Teen Daze, whose real name is Jamison, is yet another in a long line of unremarkable electronic/chillwave artists seemingly mining the 2003 film “Lost In Translation” soundtrack for inspiration. Unfortunately for us, Teen Daze offers nothing interesting or fresh.
“New Life” opens the album with a sampled voice asking us to “Have mercy,” but frankly, it’s difficult to. The repetitive synth lines and breathy vocals seem born of summer boredom and recording accessibility rather than any kind of genuine emotion. “I saw you in the darkness / I knew your name,” Teen Daze intones in a reverb-drenched whine on “Garden 1.” This isn’t the headiest stuff either.
“Discipleship” offers a pleasant interplay between swirling keys and beats, but that’s been heard before. “Union,” which features guest vocals from Brooklyn-based musician Frankie Rose, is obviously Teen Daze’s attempt at aping alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain. With punchy chords and vocals low in the mix, it’s immediately recognizable, but stops short of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s brilliance.
That feeling of having heard these songs before, of déjà entendu, if you will, colors “The Inner Mansions” entirely, as does the sneaking suspicion that they sounded better the first time around.