TEEN Love Yes
TEEN’s new album, Love Yes, explores the disharmony and empowerment that both sexuality and spirituality can create within the modern woman’s psyche. Universal ideas of loyalty, pleasure, purity, power, aging, and love are confronted with a knowable specificity. There is a quality of wholesomeness, but also an edge—a kind of wise anger and electricity.
After extensive touring behind The Way and Color (2014), the band had to keep traveling to find Love Yes. The group first went to Woodstock in the dead of winter to write new material. Here, keyboardist and singer Lizzie Lieberson created the stunning, autobiographical “Please.” But the band, and especially lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Teeny Lieberson, felt a crushing lack of creative energy. Recognizing the need to recharge, they took some time off. Teeny moved to a small lakeside cabin in Morehead, Kentucky. Surrounded by rolling hills, sparked with sudden thunderstorms, and inspired by the musical joy of uninhibited late-night bluegrass jams and barn parties, Teeny immediately began writing again.
Here she felt a new freedom in her songwriting; drawing on themes important to her identity as a woman, and exploring love, sexuality, and the tension between desire and the construct of desire that can exist within oneself, in relationship, and within society.
After three weeks in Morehead, Teeny returned to New York to workshop with rest of the band, including drummer Katherine Lieberson and bassist Boshra Al-Saadi. Acknowledging the benefits of being creative in a cocoon like the lakeside Kentucky country, the band decided to record at the Old Confidence Lodge, in secluded Riverport, Nova Scotia. Leaving the noise and relentless energy of the city behind, TEEN retreated into the nurturing stillness of Nova Scotia, the Lieberson sisters’ childhood home. Situated on the La Have River, the studio was hidden in a perpetual mist while the band recorded day and night. Fueled by new material, a change of place, and creative collaboration, the lull of the winter lifted and the band came together in a new way. Teaming up once again with producer Daniel Schlett, TEEN wanted to capture the energy of full band recording. Rather than multi-tracking, Schlett worked with the band as they played the songs relentlessly, waiting to achieve the right energy and take as a group.
The result is a beautiful, detailed album about womanhood and the embodiment of the sensual, played by a group fully in step with one another. Love Yes bursts into the static air with a vibrancy recognized by its confidence and power.
The band TEEN came together at the turn of the decade, but its members have known each other their whole lives. Teeny, Lizzie, and Katherine Lieberson are sisters. Although they grew up in a musically vibrant Halifax home—their father was the esteemed composer Peter Lieberson—their first band jelled once they all lived in New York.
Teeny officially conceived TEEN in 2010 while on break from touring as part of renowned band Here We Go Magic. Following her self-recorded 2011 release Little Doods, she invited her sisters to join the project, transforming TEEN into a full-blown band. Carpark records caught wind of Teeny’s work, and TEEN signed to the label for its proper debut album, 2012’s In Limbo. The sisters’ unsurprising, inevitable chemistry manifests across the record’s sprawling, lo-fi psychedelia; the familial bonds that formed it gave it a strength that resulted in acclaim from publications including Rolling Stone, which claimed, “the matter-of-fact beauty of [Teeny’s] sweetly somber voice and the album’s unapologetically fat synths…proves highly evocative.”
It was with their 2014 follow-up The Way and Color, though, that the sisters solidified their accessible but complex, psychedelia- and synth-informed pop lens through which they explore romance, womanhood, and social constructs. Of the album’s more outré, electronic-influenced sounds, The New York Times raved: “The band’s new songs bloom with vocal harmonies and double down on intricate counterpoint…. TEEN’s music never [loses its balance].”
Good Fruit, the band’s fourth and newest album, is its sharpest thesis yet. A meditation on life after love, it’s thematically the opposite of its predecessor, 2016’s Love Yes, which The Guardian praised as “reminiscent of…inventive late-70s to mid-80s pop groups.” Musically, though, Good Fruit is the logical evolution of Love Yes’ massive uptick in synth use and sticky-hot choruses. The album boasts self-assured, skyrocketing synthpop anthems including “Only Water” and “Runner,” which betray the crucial lessons the sisters took from experiencing the distinct, enlivening ways that their myriad Love Yes tourmates employed synths. As with all TEEN albums, there are haunting ballads, most notably “Pretend,” which swells into a roaring synthetic climax as it details a relationship’s failure. A precise analysis of life after love, it’s an ideal note on which to end Good Fruit, a bold statement on moving forward and letting go of the past.
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A Few of Our Favorite Things
• Publicity by Motormouth Media
• College, non-comm, and specialty radio promotion by Terrorbird
• Limited edition double-LP pressed on translucent red vinyl
• February/March national tour, including SXSW appearance
• Vinyl includes free digital download
Deluxe LP: 677517011241
Standard LP: 677517011210
2. All About Us
3. Gone For Good
4. Another Man’s Woman
7. Free Time
10. Noise Shift
11. Love Yes