Teengirl Fantasy

7AM

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

The handful of singles and downloadable EP that Teengirl Fantasy released prior to their 7AM debut album had tastemakers scrambling for a way to pin down Nick Weiss and Logan Takahashi's music. Chillout house, dream disco, and dream-beat were among the better attempts, but the very difficulty of classifying the duo’s sound is a significant part of its thrill. Teengirl Fantasy's impressionistic approach lies somewhere between the nostalgic pull of chillwave acts like Neon Indian and Ariel Pink and Panda Bear's sonic tapestries on the indie side, and the expansive sounds of Blondes and Loose Fit on the dance side. They swirl together dance, R&B, dream pop, and the avant-garde into unpredictable sounds that could appeal to fans of any of these genres for different reasons. However, Takahashi and Weiss' biggest influences -- deep house, shoegaze, and Krautrock -- all aim for, and express, euphoria and other altered states of being, and on 7AM they ignore stylistic boundaries and plunge into sensuality and emotion. It turns out that Teengirl Fantasy isn’t just a pruriently intriguing name; it expresses the duo’s aesthetic in an abstract yet precise way that’s perfect for the band. They don’t sound like the kind of act a young girl would fantasize about -- they sound like the fantasy itself, impossibly shimmery, idealized, and hazy, with rhythms and soulful vocals popping up unexpectedly like hearts and rainbows doodled in notebook margins. “Vibes” acts as 7AM’s prelude, enticing listeners with streaks of sound and a beat that stops just short of coming completely into focus, a trick Teengirl Fantasy also use on “Make the Move,” which is filtered to the point of sounding like a huge but distant party. And while Teengirl Fantasy are clearly savvy about many kinds of music -- witness how they sample Love Committee's “Cheaters Never Win” so organically on “Cheaters” that it sounds like its origin -- 7AM sounds refreshingly innocent. This is most obvious on the playful album closer, “Forever the Feeling,” but it’s also in the hyper-romanticism of “Dancing in Slow Motion” (which features Light Asylum's Shannon Funchess) and the way the deep house beat and ghostly divas emerge from “Koi Pond”'s banks and “In the Rain”'s sparkling fantasia. Teengirl Fantasy evoke many sounds and emotions, but on this outstanding debut, they don’t try to re-create anything except the way a fantastic night out blurs into early morning and memories.

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