First it was “Tarot Sport” (Fuck Buttons), the best and most up-to-date invitation to enter a state of trance of the last years. Then, by surprise, the extended “Touched EP” by Blondes arrived, and a new current seemed to be born in which the indie kids showed their boredom (again) with guitars and started to function under the influence of love pills without losing the lo-fi sound – things to do with age and having little money, substituting folkie guitars with scrappy synthesisers. Now, “7 AM” is the third valid example (and we’re not forgetting about Glasser, either). It is said that when two similar phenomenon happen, it’s a coincidence, but when there are three or more, that’s a tendency. Here it is: white kids on ecstasy (redux), renegades of lazy pop and white noise coming together in a sound that wants to stop time and concentrate happiness into one sole second. Check out the title Teengirl Fantasy –Nick Weiss and Logan Takahashi, based in Amsterdam (where they are studying)– have chosen for their official album debut: that moment when night and day are mixed, the end of the party, the first moment of silence after the music’s over, or the moment the last song sounds, that vinyl ruling over the party: has it been memorable or not? As an opposite approach to The KLF’s “3 AM Eternal” –the stopped clock resumes at the peak moment of the rave– Teengirl Fantasy go for the come-down process, when all the energy finally has to escape the body like steam from a pan and find that pleasant peace of rest.
“7 AM” creates anxiety: from the start, it announces an orientation towards house, of songs articulated by the skeleton of a kick drum, but really it’s a hide-and-seek game because they also announce the complete opposite. For example, the sleeve, in vague pre-shoegaze tones and a design somewhere between the old 4AD albums and the first IDM records from England and The Netherlands, warns us that Teengirl Fantasy could also play the eighties card, nostalgia and the smudged memory of memories they never really had and have been created through their YouTube pages. And, like on some of the tracks on the Blondes album, there is a very beneficial indecision between trance and hypnagogia, between the uncontrolled dancing –which here is always strictly domesticated– and melancholy embodied in images of blurry thoughts. This apparent contradiction between the friendly eighties and the fiery nineties is resolved by way of Balearic sounds: they sound summery, the rhythm is usually slow, albeit constant, about 90 BPM on average which moves the feet while lying down dreaming with the stars, and they don’t distract from the really important thing, the precise ambient massage applied all over the body. “Dancing In Slow Motion” –with the voice of Shannon Funchess (Light Asylum) is proto-R&B with its roots in Prince and the passionate hymns of the Paradise Garage (plus a few very synth-poppy ditties)– is the most carnal the boys from Ohio get, the rest is angelical, asexual, as a genuine mystic and ecstatic experience should be. The weight of the record is carried by the layers of moods that, from “Vibes” on, mark a territory that is eminently sensual: these are eroded textures, as if improvised live, while “In An Arena” comes with the loose beat of a dub bass and beach waves like those by 808 State. The perfectly administer the tension, they show and hide the beat –their way of camouflaging it is slowing it down and taking it to the background, as if it were a distant echo– and little by little the record is making its way without being able to get off it.
In the end, “7 AM” explodes like a balloon that can hold no more air. Once the slow disco of “Make The Move”, the slow-motion house of “Floor To Floor” or the tribal psychedelica of “Forever The Feeling” have forced the limits of tension, making you nervous because things don’t speed up and the feet aren’t moved, Teengirl Fantasy come up with “Koi Pond” –two minutes of gloomy ambient and two more of elated house– and finish the job with “Cheaters”, the perfect and definitive glo-fi trance invasion with it’s identified sample of the obscure disco project of the seventies (Love Committee and their “Cheaters Never Win”), it’s epic push and it’s synthesised notes with laser textures. A moment of climax, well-guided and even more well executed, which adds value to a courageous debut, contemporary and with perspective: it is now that Nick and Logan can plan a second LP in the opposite direction, from euphoric celebration to eternal peace. The important thing is that a talented duo has started to walk in the right direction.