What seems to be holding Teengirl Fantasy back? On their last studio album, Tracer, Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss produced a succinct collection of tracks, instrumental passages weaving between the record’s standouts, which featured Kelela, Panda Bear, and Laurel Halo. On their new EP, Nun, the duo push for a slightly more mature sound, reminiscent of Tracer’s wordless glitch-dance tunes, but also completely devoid of any human contact.
Electronic music doesn’t require clear incorporation of human, analog sound (vocals, for example) to be successful. In fact, plenty of great, hypnotic dance music is typically devoid of this characteristic. That said, Teengirl Fantasy’s fingerprint-less approach on Nun feels like a slump.
It’s difficult to latch onto anything in the sound patterns that Takahashi and Weiss are throwing out there. With opening track “Eric”, the EP overloads on meaninglessly hallucinatory sounds (redolent of pointless SoCal stonerism), EDM touchstones, and glitchy experimentalism, but not in any pleasurable balance; it’s difficult to absorb oneself into any one of these themes when the track repeatedly shifts momentum, kills off specific textured sounds, and experiments for what seems to be the sole purpose of experimenting.
If any track does, “Nun” succeeds in keeping a followable pace. It almost achieves the balance of that Takahashi and Weiss seem to be trying to get at: a recognizably EDM-inspired, yet idiosyncratically experimental chime that they can call their own. After all, the track’s heightened intensity (via increasing speeds and amount of different sounds) and dancing synths are refreshing.
This is what makes Teengirl Fantasy’s efforts feel faceless without the vocal power they’d attached themselves to in the past, something to make Takahashi and Weiss’s growingly complex, distinct sound sink more easily into the favorable memory of a listener. Bring back some Laurel Halo, and Nun would have much more impact.
Essential Tracks: “Nun”