Chicago art-rock band Teen Cult released their self-titled debut off of Already Dead Tapes last week. The band is made up of former members of Waterhouse. On this album, expect to hear masterful musicianship and intricate composition. Teen Cult uses a wide variety of textures, abnormal tempos and different styles to artfully craft together songs into an exceptional body of work.
These songs are meticulously composed and well-rehearsed. “Pictures of You Tying Knots in the Dark” is a prime example of their pure orchestration. The album as a whole is singular work in and of itself. Unlike how they use sudden stops and changes of tempo in their songs, Teen Cult transition as smoothly between their songs. All the while they span a variety of genres. Between the first few songs, we hear a combination of prog-rock and 50s do-wop. Throughout the album are also moments of jazz, folk (especially in the vocals) and math rock.
And as always when one song resolves, the next one crescendos. We see this from “Aligator Day” through “Lint.” From here it is clear that album is divided into different stages. Beyond this stage, Teen Cult show their ability to arrange. They take you back to your emulator with their 8-bit number “Lint 3000,” and reveal their inner gypsies on “Last Days.”
Nonetheless, their sporadic nature is definitely an acquired taste. The one thing that would hurt this album is that not one song really sticks out. It could be that they all work so well together that it’s hard to imagine them apart, or it could be that the songs all have such different parts that it’s hard for one to stick out. One thing is for sure: These songs are not simple.
The album as a whole is something to marvel over, with admirable musicianship throughout. It is certainly not meant for passive listening. You can pick up a tape off of the label’s website, but hurry as it’s limited to 100 pressings.