Teen Daze — Morning World (August 14, 2015) ♠ Canadian singer~songwriter/producer amps up a penchant for ambient melodies and synthy, hazy beats on latest set with a more mature sound.Hometown: Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada
Homebase: Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Album release: August 14, 2015
Record Label: Paper Bag Records
01. Valley of Gardens 2:39
02. Pink 3:05
03. Morning World 4:15
04. It Starts at the Water 4:04
05. Post Storm 5:44
06. Life in the Sea 4:44
07. You Said 3:13
08. Garden Grove 1:57
09. Along 3:53
10. Infinity 4:08
11. Good Night 3:39
℗ 2015 Paper Bag Records
♠ Morning World... eleven fully built, balanced, and expressed songs, the most vulnerable and honest Teen Daze LP to date. Thematically, Jamison paints a familiar picture: a Garden of Eden, a place of transcendent, painfree beauty, but with one key distinction... it’s not real and time there is finite. With vocals boldly up front~surrounded by strings, piano, guitar, and live percussion~he details a realm that, for the first time, has room for more than one. “Where does life go when it’s done.” The poses in the closing moments of “Post Storm”, before lending an answer that evokes the omnipresent wisdom of All Things Must Pass: “a moon replaces morning sun.”REVIEW
ANDY BETA, AUGUST 05, 201511:01 PM ET
♠ When British Columbia musician Teen Daze appeared with his bedroom–recorded 2010 debut, Four More Years, the title of that eight~song cassette might have seemed presumptuous. Five years later, Teen Daze has matured musically and covered new ground. Credited to a twentysomething named Jamison (no surname given), Teen Daze began to post more and more music online, with efforts like My Bedroom Floor and Beach Dreams suggesting comfortable intimacy in his sound. He made primarily electronic~tinged pop, with synths adding extra drift to the instrumentals; Jamison kept a prolific pace with five releases in five years — all capped by 2013’s Glacier, which added ambient watercolors and even a bit of a house beat to the template.
♠ The new Morning World suggests not the early hours of the day — which would be in keeping with Teen Daze’s aesthetic — but a greeting. It serves as a coming~out of sorts for Jamison, introducing him to a larger indie~pop world. Recorded and mixed in the span of 10 days with help from producer John Vanderslice, Morning World strips away the self~recorded layers of Jamison alone in his bedroom, and instead places live accompaniment behind him throughout these 11 dreamy pop songs.
♠ The first two minutes of “Valley Of Gardens” mix bowed cello, warm organ chords, live drums and a nimble, fingerpicked melody — and then Jamison’s voice appears. While his voice had emerged on previous albums, it was often obscured behind hazy synths. Now it’s here, crystalline and fragile, double~tracked and reminiscent of Elliott Smith or the whispers of early American Analog Set.
♠ Morning World strikes a careful balance of guitar fuzz ("Pink"), the slow and cresting dream~pop of “Post Storm” and the sputtering electronics of the title track. One of the album’s most gorgeous moments comes in “Along”: After a droning keyboard intro, a crisp drum line and pizzicato strings, Jamison’s whispered tenor intermingles with the band, his words evoking grass and violet clouds. It’s an ethereal state that matches his voice perfectly, bringing to mind Roger Waters circa “Breathe.” Right at the line about jumping into a river and being carried along by it, the rhythm on the ride cymbal changes and slows, the space between each instrument widens, and Teen Daze sets us fully adrift in his daydream. ♠ http://www.npr.org/
♠ Teen Daze has an on~and~off relationship with the dancefloor. It makes sense: the artist known otherwise as Jamison (he uses only his first name professionally) lives in the Fraser Valley, an exurb of Vancouver that isn’t exactly known for a clubbing scene, and it’s far enough away from its larger neighbor that you’d probably need a hotel room to bother going out. His earliest work was lumped in with chillwave, but through releases like All of Us, Together, the rhythms started to become the focal point of his productions, leading him to play club sets and even DJ occasionally. But melody has always been Jamison’s strong suit, which has lent his dance~oriented work a heart~on~sleeve quality that’s more Tycho than techno. It also means that his time spent away from the drum machines — like 2013’s delicate Glacier — have been the best showcases for his songwriting. And now, with Morning World, Jamison finds his voice. Picking up a guitar (and a studio full of other instruments), he plays, plucks, and sings his heart out for his best record yet.
♠ Following a number of turbulent life changes, Jamison travelled down to San Francisco to work with John Vanderslice, who helps imbue Morning World with indie rock’s warm, analog glow. It sounds almost nothing like previous Teen Daze material. Only Jamison’s fluttery songwriting remains, and the new style puts his pleasant idiosyncrasies into sharper focus. Instead of pirouetting synths and daydream melodies, Jamison’s singing is the center point of Morning World. His voice is wonderfully meek and boyish, with shades of Ben Gibbard and Doug Martsch in his soft, clearly enunciated delivery. It’s a great match for the baroque sound he’s built with Vanderslice, which feels ornate and well~appointed without reaching for the ostentatious.
♠ While the meat of Morning World is largely string instruments and drums, Jamison’s nostalgic synths play an important part, always lurking in the background. Synths swirl underneath the title track, giving it the childlike lilt of hauntology practitioners like the Advisory Circle, and add vivid color between the lines on upbeat highlight “Life in the Sea”. The latter is an ode to swimming that underlines the album’s core theme: an appreciation of the simple things around you. Two of the album’s tracks, including opener “Valley of Gardens”, paint verdant pictures: “I’ve come to watch the flowers as they grow/ Another chance to feel how little I know/ And another morning spent no feeling alone.”
♠ Those lyrics highlight a naïveté that’s been core to Teen Daze since Jamison was young, which makes his romantic songwriting feel as earnest as a Postal Service song. It comes to a head on the LP’s climax, “Infinity”, which is one of his most touching songs yet, breaking out into a soaring coda where he repeats “Let me stay a little longer/ I can find my way back home.” In the wake of the breakup of a long~term relationship that preceded Morning World, it’s an elegant refrain that packs an adolescent’s world of emotion into one loaded phrase.
♠ When Jamison isn’t being so direct, the album falters: “You Said” is a blandly casual instrumental that feels like treading water (think “Flying” from Magical Mystery Tour), while “Post Storm” goes for epic but ends up dawdling through its hefty six minutes. Those signs suggest that Jamison might still be working to reconcile his singer~songwriter direction with his many past selves, but he sounds remarkably assured for the rest of it. More importantly, he sounds like himself more than ever — which makes Morning World Jamison’s most captivating and personal album yet.
By Nina Corcoran, Aug 07, 2015; Score: 6.5/10
By Francois Marchand, Vancouver Sun July 23, 2015; Score: 4 out of 5 stars
BY KATHERINE FLYNN ON AUGUST 06, 2015, 6:00 AM; SCORE: C