Teen Daze – ‘Morning World’ Review

Posted: by Riley

stream the album while you read!

The impact Bon Iver’s pseudo-self-titled sophomore LPhas had on modern indie is damn near immeasurable. For many, the record is more admirable in its production than its songs. Vernon’s atmospheric nature-hymns sparked a love affair between soundclouders and this new brand of indie, resulting in an abundance of post-rock-friendly electronic music. A concrete example of this is Bon Iver’s Stems Project – an album comprised of hand-selected Bon Iver, Bon Iver remixes (and a smoke-session favorite). The best of these was a stunning remix of ‘Perth’ from a mysterious Canadian producer who goes by Teen Daze. The rendition pushes an already-huge song to new heights, annexing 808’s and burying Vernon’s voice beneath layers of shimmering synths and reverb. After repeated listens, I decided to check this guy out.

What I found was a pleasant array of spacious, mostly electronic music ranging from nearly-ambient to danceable indie-pop. Vocals were sometimes, but not always, present; if they were present, they were obscured much like Vernon’s on his ‘Perth’ remix. This is the most prevalent shift on Teen Daze’s newest LP, Morning World. More articulate in general, the record features largely unaffected vocals – a choice that lends a human component to Teen Daze. As Jamison, the mind behind Teen Daze, begins to sing on opener ‘Valley of Gardens,’ his gentle voice is almost jarring in it’s bareness. However, his rebirthed vocals – which fall somewhere between Alex G and How To Dress Well, depending on the song – pair flawlessly with the added tinges of indie rock and orchestral pop throughout the LP.

Although some of these songs wouldn’t feel out of place on an Orchid Tapes compilation, Jamison still functions from a producer’s mindset on Morning World. He meticulously introduces elements and strips them away as he sees fit. Admirably, Jamison treats his vocals with the same restraint; in doing so, he allows his instrumentals to breathe and unfold, and commands attention when he opts to sing.

Morning World’s blithe tapestries are typically bright and mesmeric, but rarely do the record’s “wow” moments reach out and grab the listener – they’re subtle, but rewarding. On the Pink Floyd-esque ‘Along,’ a dream-pop groove flows like a canal before emptying into a crystalline reservoir as it shifts to half time – an overwhelming calm sweeps over the song. Morning World is a listening experience made exponentially more gratifying by these elusive moments.

The heart of Teen Daze has always been well-executed, deeply nostalgic music; that does not change on Morning World. Jamison’s lyrics are rooted in big-sky contemplation and his arrangements present themselves like warm memories. The difference with the new LP is that the songs feel like they long for a real time or place, rather than an abstract utopia. The producer’s earlier releases were auroral blends of smeared hues; on this record, Jamison has begun to command these textures and paint a picture. If the songs in Teen Daze’s catalog up to this point were – as they’re often described – dreams, Morning World is a lucid dream. 

Score: 8.5/10

FFO: Foxes in Fiction, How To Dress Well, Memoryhouse, The Stems Project