Teengirl Fantasy have taken their music in different directions since 7 AM, but this spiritual follow-up to their debut reaffirms just how naturally ethereal mood-setting comes to Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss, despite the seven years separating these albums. 8 AM revamps their debut's euphoric glow and dreamlike openness with some of the staccato rhythms of later works like Tracer, reminding listeners that this is a sequel, not a rehash. "Seeds," which features Khalif Jones' soft-focus verses, is the lone track with vocals, offering a stark contrast to Tracer's prominent cameos. Here and throughout 8 AM, however, Teengirl Fantasy strike a distinctive balance between hazy and defined on tracks like the cavernous "Where I Went" and "Telepaths," which recontextualizes '80s world music sounds with wobbly rhythms that are thoroughly 21st century. The duo also employs some impressive spatial tricks on "Don't," where the melody seems to rise from the bassline and flurries of glistening synths disappear almost as quickly as they arrive; on "We Out," tones streak across ricocheting beats. The way that 8 AM teeters between kinetic and dreamy is most compelling when Weiss and Takahashi allow themselves room to expand: The bubbling, bleeping, and sweeping synths that make up the aptly named "Crash Soft" could be called a riot of textures if the results didn't sound so smooth. As 8AM comes to a close, Teengirl Fantasy imbue it with the same emotional heft that made their debut so beloved. "All of the Time," one of the album's true epics, is a standout, along with the joyous "Star-rise" and "Wet Eyes and Exhilaration," on which Takahashi and Weiss sound like they're ready to start the whole thing over again. A worthy update of 7AM's tone poems, 8AM proves that seven years can feel like only an hour later when the music is this transporting.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares