Teen Daze soothes, but doesn’t soar

Columbia based producer, Jamison has released a new album, “Themes of a Dying Earth,” under the moniker Teen Daze. Jamison is known for making ambient electronic albums, some even based directly on books he finds in thrift stores.

The album is split between moody soundscape interludes created by layered synths, and some dreamy synth-pop with guest singers. The combination works well on this album as a cohesive unit, and lets it flow through each song, but the songs themselves have a bit of an issue.

The first track, “Cycle,” is one of the synth-pop songs. It starts strong with short and sweet synth parts raising and falling, until the drums and Jamison join up into the most upbeat song on the album. After the first track, the album gets a bit more slow. This is not a bad thing at first, because of Jamison’s beautiful synth work, but it becomes a move obvious problem with every listen.

Although the synths are utilized very well, the album never really hits the same way it does for the first song. The downfall of the album is the fact that some of the songs are not that memorable.

What songs that do work are the instrumental songs he collaborates with Dustin Wong and Jon Anderson, like “Anew” and “Cherry Blossoms.”

“Anew” features a steel slide guitar, which is usually used in country music, but accompanied with Teen Daze’s ethereal backing instrumentation, the song that comes out is dreamy.

“Cherry Blossoms” with Dustin Wong has an impressive amount of instrumentation, but a single melody remains throughout the song. This makes for some great swells of notes, until it climaxes with the inclusion of drums into a strong chorus. This type of song is the saving grace of this album.

“First Rain,” featuring Sean Carey, of Bon Iver, is a song that has a melody that sticks. Not like the track before it, “First Rain” offers very little instrumentation from a synth and an acoustic guitar. The final chorus introduces very bubbly bells, but after that it returns to a hum.

This album’s inability to catch any long term attention is partly based on their lack of range of instrumentation on the album overall. The melodies created make the listener believe there could be more that could be explored in Teen Daze’s versatility, but they decide to leave the listener with just a bit of their abilities.

Verdict: The hum is what Teen Daze is good at on this album. They have a couple of songs that manage to produce memorable melodies, but the rest serves as general synth pop/ambient stuff. It is great soothing music to put on in the background, but to sit and actively listen could become a little bit of a bore.

Grade: C+

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