Teen Daze has been throwing around tracks on the internet for a couple years now. His early work arrived on the scene the same time the loosely-defined “chillwave” was taking up memory on laptops and iPods everywhere. At first glance (and listen) the work of the Vancouver native seems right at home side by side with the Washed Outs of the world: Smeared synths and hissing loops over fuzzy lo-fi beats nurtured from the soundtracks of colorful anime films and the wake of early M83. Nature photos and summer scenes donning the cover of his releases that are just begging to be doctored via Instagram. Even the name, Teen Daze, fits right at home with that brief, dreamy period somewhere in 2010 where music got really nostalgic for some lost utopian youth and played its lament with keyboards, laptops and vague, breathy vocals.
Fast forward to the brink of summer 2012 and Teen Daze has put together a full-length with all the pre-mentioned characteristics still largely intact. Yet, the results showcase a musician with visions beyond the passing moment where we first heard them. The album, All of Us, Together, is heavily influenced from a book called Utopian Visions found at a thrift store (how appropriate) and sets out to make a record that is both synthetic, yet emotive. Gems like the subdued “Body and Kensie” or the jittery guitar samplings in “The New Baleraic” find a way to do just this. Never is there any doubt that a laptop sits close by, yet the delicately crafted layers that timely overlap and unfold exude a musical ardor that is very real and of flesh and blood.
It’s not all journal entries for a futuristic world, though. “Brooklyn Sunburn” chops vocals over slapping, high-end drum sequencing, acknowledging that bodies like to move and dance as well. The track would work surprisingly well shuffled into a set of microhouse from Sasu Ripatti or the pop-oriented techno of Ellen Allien and shows Teen Daze shaking off the chillwave peg. While “The Future” maintains similar momentum with shades of house vocals and hissing percussion apt for both the dance floor and a night drive.
Push through all the hip, Tumblr-ready stylings that shroud the aesethic of Teen Daze, and the music proves to be something much richer than a “now” sound or a passing trend. Instead All of Us, Together succeeds in creating a gauzy synth-laden dream that tip-toes around cliches masterfully. And while the album, at times, feels a bit monochromatic, it maintains its intrigue and never loses its vision, resulting in more of a promising debut with some room to grow that any kind of prosaic nostalgic release of the moment.