TEEN - In Limbo
By: Rob Gannon
If the idea of a solo record by Kristina “Teeny” Lieberson (better known as the keyboardist from Here We Go Magic) doesn’t excite prepare to be partly surprised by her In Limbo LP. Rounding out the TEEN ranks are Lieberson’s two sisters Katherine and Lizzie, as well as family friend Jane Herships, and the surprise isn’t that these Brooklyn lasses open with a core of classic Girl Group sounds, rather that they pair and latterly concede them with varying degrees of success to amorphous psyche/drone meanderings.
It’s also not beyond the realms of possibility that the In Limbo running order was written as it runs. The opener, with its playful keys, would seem to house the last vestiges of Lieberson’s Here We Go Magic endeavours in electronic pop, layering them with New Wave synths before swirling the track into psyche-pop loops that eddy around a cutesy vocal. From here the girls launch into chilly, La Sera -like garage-pop with the slow-time ballad “Charlie” being particularly noteworthy, twinkling itself into a lovely, wheezy lament.
Refocusing the collection, the girls then try on some tense post-punk by way of “Electric”, which also introduces a darker edge not all unlike Effi Briest as heard through a Warpaint filter – oh, and its mid-point synth-bass drop is pure killer too. Concreting earlier suggestions of psyche the tasteful (but ultimately uninspiring) “Huh” then acts as a gateway to more shapeless compositions for which we surely, at least in part, have producer Pete Kember (otherwise known as Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3) to thank.
From here on in In Limbo contorts itself into a barely conscious drift of bleary psyche-pop, outsider oddities strewn at its every turn. Some of these sounds are ripe for a successful Not Not Fun remix and some of them fail to register at all, but just as quickly as TEEN stray they reign themselves back in, bolstering their attacking options with David Lynch‘s best bass ponderings. The lolloping “Why, Why, Why” trip thusly gets distorted between the heavy gravities of planets Twin Peaks and Lou Reed, its ear-filling guitar fizz and snap-echo snares providing intangibility and anchor in equal measure, while “Roses & Wine” then brings to mind a slightly more tuneful Nico smearing suffocating psyche over keyboard/organ dither and fire-alarm pulses that are buried high in the mix.
Free of Here We Go Magic Lieberson isn’t 100% sure what she wants want to sound like, but does know beyond a doubt what she likes, ultimately trying to cram it all into an eclectic psychedelic soup. Where occasionally she doesn’t get it spot on In Limbo is appropriately cast to linger in some featureless purgatory, but happily there are otherwise more than sufficient markers to confirm her as a talent worth watching in her own right.
Advised downloads: “Why, Why, Why” and “Electric”.
In Limbo is out now on Carpark.