Named for a phrase from a '60s ad in Playboy magazine, Teen Men crafts melodically sweet electro-pop that grew from a one-off public-access TV audio/video project by singer/guitarist Nick Krill and guitarist Joe Hobson of indie dance-rockers the Spinto Band. With visual artists Albert Birney and Catharine Maloney contributing interactive video to early sessions and keyboards to the developing album material, the foursome inspired each other in an artistic give and take that's resulted in a free-spirited, smile-inducing eponymous debut. Their experimental approach to classic, melody-driven songwriting with synth pop instrumentation begets an infectious indie pop that falls somewhere between a chilled-out Fun. and Talking Heads (listen to the guitar grooves and synth globs on "It's All Rushing Back"). From the falsetto-topped, funky tinkle-pop of the cowbell-driven "Hiding Records (So Dangerous)" to the dreamier, reverbed "Fall Out a Tree" ("Can't stop from seeing things/Can't put my eyes to sleep"), it remains relentlessly catchy. "New Kind" employs additive rhythms and varied, untypical percussion/synth timbres for a textured and off-kilter outing on an album that may be called the same. While electronic tones ping over poppy guitar grooves, Krill's easygoing vocals, sparse arrangements, and middling tempos create a leisurely album-length vibe alongside slightly melancholic melodies and progressions, together suggesting a rainbow-colored whirligig set loose at the beach in a partly sunny midday breeze. With equally quirky lyrics ("Air filled with steam/Makes a train whistle seem/Like a note from your throat"), and coming in at under 30 minutes, Teen Men is a tight little ten-track parcel of kooky sweetness where head bobbing is unavoidable.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson