Album Review: Teen Daze – ‘Themes For Dying Earth’

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Canadian native Jamison Isaak a.k.a. Teen Daze has continued the growth of his music with Themes For Dying Earth. It continues on a trend from the previous LP Morning World which has slightly eschewed more of his root sounds of lounge, house, and chillwave to a more inclusive one, which seems best described as indie-electronica with ambient overtones. Yet that blanket description still leaves out some of the new motifs and techniques Teen Daze has shifted towards.

Opening track “Cycle” establishes quickly that this album does not have the dark sound that might be inferred from the album title, but rather an appreciation for what Earth has provided for us billions who have walked upon it.

“Becoming” is perfectly fit to accompany a soundtrack of a mystery movie from the eighties. Quickly melting into the next song “Lost”, one can be a bit taken back that all the different instruments and vocals emanate from the same source.

The name of the album may be a bit misleading to some, as those words could certainly imply a grim and frightening scenario of sounds. Yet, interpreted another way could be seen as tones and rhythms to peacefully ease the Earth through its’ death.

Many of the songs invoke strong imagery, perhaps best presented on “Cherry Blossoms”…a track that would make Mogwai jealous of its’ instrumental-only execution. One track that immediately stood out was “Rising”. Poolsideesque with more melancholy, the refrain is remarkably catchy and the title is in reference to the rising levels of the oceans.

The faux-ascension to the heavens during “Anew” is sublimely supplanted by slide-guitar and a muffled pitch-percussion instrument. That theme carries over into “Water in Heaven”, two songs that could have been one extended version with imagery of sun breaking through clouds.

Themes For Dying Earth presents a unique view on the state of our climate/planet and the resulting fate. As Teen Daze continues to move away from the poppy Poolside-sound and more towards artists such as Tycho, Moby (ambient style), or Ulrich Schnauss. That said, after many playthroughs there were only a couple out of ten tracks that stuck in my head. However such is reality for an album that relies as much on ambience as this.

Digital and physical copies are available here for release February 10.

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