TEEN has been one of those bands that creeps into the public consciousness, one record at a time. The trio of Lieberson sisters -- Teeny, Lizzie and Kathleen -- get better every time. They've done it again on The Way and Color, with Boshra AlSaadi joining on bass and no shortage of ideas.
Sometimes, it's overwhelming. If you're not paying too close attention, you might mistakenly think the tracks have changed. There is just so much packed into these songs. Synths and keys create surprising landscapes of buzzing, whistling, squeaking, plinking, shimmering, humming, and basically making any noise they're capable of making. Teeny's voice is mostly responsible for holding it all together. She's as sonically flexible as those electronics -- whispering, growling, belting and crooning.
Through all of that though, many of the songs coalesce into something exciting and satisfying, particularly album opener “Rose 4 U.” When they simplify things just a bit (a tougher task for arty electro-pop), they really shine. A song like “Sticky,” slinking, seductive and simple, is more likely to stay with you because there's more time for melodies and hooks to get into your head. “Tied Up Tied Down” does straightforward structure even more effectively, thanks to a sturdy backbone from the drums and a buzzy, low synth line.
The Way and Color will make you excited for whatever TEEN does next, but it's certainly perfectly great to sit with until then.