Late last year I wrote a feature that compiled the top 10 underrated releases of 2010, the idea being that it would explore the albums that had slipped through the previous year’s best-of lists and seen their stock rise over the course of 2011. One such album was Teen Daze’s Four More Years, which had been lumped in with the divisive chillwave movement that included artists such as Toro Y Moi and Washed Out. Four More Years stood out because of its accessible and catchy lyrics that instantly vaulted songs such as “Gone For the Summer” into warm weather playlists all over the country. Teen Daze continues the good vibes on All Of Us, Together, a colorful and balanced album that stays within itself throughout the nine electronic and mostly instrumental tracks.
Chillwave has been viewed by many as merely a passing trend in popular music, and I can think of few artists who gleefully associate themselves with the subgenre. In a recent Reddit AMA (ask me anything), Jamison (first name unknown) said that he’s never personally tried to make a “chillwave” record, but also that the label doesn’t really bother him. All Of Us, Together seems to move in different directions than his previous work even though the laid-back mood is a defining staple of bedroom-producing peers. Daze evokes a variety of artists throughout the record: the LP’s second cut, “Late,” sounds like a mix between Röyksopp’s “Eple” and Bonobo’s Days To Come closer, “Recurring.” The chopped up vocals on “Brooklyn Sunburn” recall Prefuse 73 circa 2004. And listening to “Erbstuck” conjures up memories of The Field’s 2011 release, Looping State of Mind.
“Treton” and “The Future” are probably the best connections to Jamison’s previous work and also stand out as two definite highlights on the album. All Of Us, Together pulls back on the vocal sections that carried Four More Years; in the aforementioned Reddit Q&A, Jamison states that including vocals was never a priority and that he was highly influenced by his touring compatriot, Tycho. “Cold Sand” is probably the best analogue to Tycho’s recent LP, Dive. The multiple layers of synth textures combine to form a smooth and danceable jam that rides popping drums and bass.
After two years of expanded press, listenership and general attention, Teen Daze’s All Of Us, Together likely won’t go quite as deep “under the radar” as his first release. However, the full-length side steps chillwave and winds up in a territory that’s awkwardly in-between the trendy and the avant garde. Fans of the first album will likely miss the catchy vocals and newcomers may bemoan the lack of experimentation. All nine tracks on the album are well crafted, however, and if he continues this path, Jamison’s talent for glossy sounds and polished synths may very well reach a seasoned maturity next time around, and with any luck, a much wider audience.
Stream: Teen Daze – “The Future”