On Morning World, Teen Daze (the solo project of a Vancouver-based man known only as Jamison) ventures far outside of the self-contained bubble of home recording, traveling to San Francisco to work with John Vanderslice at his analog recording studio Tiny Telephones. The album is a far cry from the chilled house beats and glacial ambience of earlier Teen Daze recordings, coming a lot closer to neatly orchestrated chamber pop. This isn't to say that his music is no longer atmospheric or relaxing, or that there are no more synthesizers to be found in his music. The glitchy, intricate acoustic guitar melodies opening "Morning World" and the backwards guitars and warped effects on some other songs assure the listener that Jamison didn't decide to dispense with technology entirely and make a purely acoustic folk record. There are still keyboards, and they still play an important role in the project's sound, but they're no longer the focal point of it. The music is constructed by lushly orchestrated strings, acoustic guitars, live drums, and pianos, and they have plenty of space to breathe and let Jamison's lyrics take center stage. It sounds like the opportunity to expand his sound and take advantage of the capabilities of the recording studio resulted in a revelation; on "Pink," he sings of seeing the world in a new light and "dreams becoming real right before my eyes." The album's at its best when it goes for breezy indie pop, such as the hopeful "It Starts at the Water," which proclaims "I want to believe that this is forever." Jamison also creates an intriguing mostly instrumental post-rock epic appropriately titled "Post Storm." "You Said" is entirely instrumental, and demonstrates his knack for building remarkable soundscapes. However, some of the album's other songs run the risk of being too light, too tasteful, too pleasant but unmemorable, such as when the album lulls to a teen doze with closing piano lullaby "Good Night." His previous albums trod that line a bit, and while it's admirable that he's trying new things and broadening his scope, Morning World still feels like an experiment or a transitional stage.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson