Teengirl Fantasy - Tracer

More expansive and impressive than their previous output.

Rating: 8

In 2010, Teengirl Fantasy released their debut full-length ‘7AM’, an album that still manages to sound relevant despite electronic music progressing swiftly within the past two years with innumerable sub-genres as producers get more experimental. Impressively, Teengirl Fantasy have moved on too; their new record ‘Tracer’ seeing the duo create a more chaotic sound, whilst also having a noteworthy set of collaborators including Laurel Halo and Panda Bear.

Opener ‘Orbit’ spirals into view with arpeggiated synths and a booming, sparse drum line that dissolves into a rapidly ticking beat that gradually builds up into the hollow taps of drums and spooky hisses that sound like the wind blowing in fast motion. It’s almost as if the pair have improvised the song as different elements come in when you’re not expecting it. The first guest feature is Kelela on ‘EXF’ which is undoubtedly the most pop orientated song on ‘Tracer’, where blissful vocals complement the pumping bass whilst the percussion does its own thing – if this was given to one of the pop titans; this could easily be a big hit.

‘Eternal’ brings ‘Tracer’ back into the electronic realm with staccato popping sounds flittering in and out as the song builds up before bringing in a chorus of pan pipes that coalesce to make a central melody. However, ‘Eternal’ gets chaotic as the pan pipes and thumping beat compete with each other for the spotlight before both surrendering and then building up again and managing to coexist towards the end of the song. ‘Inca’ also brings in pan pipes around reverberating xylophone to sound like the middle of a tropical rainforest, but with futuristic aspects.

The second feature comes from Animal Collective’s own Panda Bear. ‘Pyjama’ is as experimental as Animal Collective but with a darker tone as an eerie drone comes in before a mesh of clanking noises that manage to sound tuneful and at the same time accompany Panda Bear’s harmonious, pitch-changing vocals. The next feature comes from Laurel Halo in the shape of ‘Mist Of Time’ with echoed extra-terrestrial sounds bouncing off each other whilst sparkling keys chime in and Halo’s wispy, echoed vocals create a bewitching effect.

The last feature, from Romanthony, ‘Do It’ is a 90s sounding house hit with autotuned vocals, a fast stomping beat and summery house production that makes it sound like it’d get played on repeat in Ibiza, as Romanthony contributes to the club vibe, singing ‘Gonna have a good time / You know it’s yours and mine.’ Closer ‘Timeline’ is along the same vein, with club and 2-step vibes, almost stepping into techno at one point whilst also keeping the idiosyncratic strokes of the rest of the record. Album two from the American duo is certainly sonically more expansive and impressive than their previous output.