TEEN - The Way And Color

Louder, bolder, but a little less unique.

Label: Carpark Records

Rating:

Settling in with a newfound directness, the initially promising ‘The Way and Color’ showcases a penchant for a bolder sound, before frequently losing itself in its narrow, swerving path. TEEN may have cleaned up their sound for this third album, but the Brooklyn outfit have also distanced themselves from their songwriting talents.

There are moments when ‘The Way and Color’ flourishes with intention, but for the most part the mark is a little too scattershot. From the second the album starts with ‘Rose 4 U’, there’s a stark change in tone from the band’s past work. It’s louder, bolder, but a little less unique. Sounding like a less ambitious Warpaint or a bored Yeasayer, there’s a sound TEEN are striving for, but they very rarely reach it.

In between meandering half-ballads, there are flashes of brilliance, which only occasionally translate to good songs. Fluttering guitar chords shallowly shimmering on one channel as backing vocals rise from the other; there are moments like this that make a compelling case for the minimal commotion. Just over half way through the record, an almost ambient piece full of obscured samples surfaces, hinting at a more adventurous edge that the rest of the record never quite reaches.

It’s frustrating. There’s enjoyment to be found, but only if you dig deep enough. TEEN almost achieve what they’ve set out to do, but there’s a sense that they’ve spread themselves a little too thin. Instead of harnessing their newfound directness for a concise effort, they’ve attempted to create a sprawling one record, and have ended up losing themselves along the way.

Given the time and commitment, you can scavenge elements of a fantastic band from ‘The Way and Color’, but instead what we have is quite ironically, a record lacking both direction and colour.