Ashley Yao and John Chao, the core members of the New York-based electronic duo Misha, have made a small gem of an album in Teardrop Sweetheart, an ode to the beauties of pop in abbreviated, swiftly changing form. Tracks putt along and take various shapes as they decide what they want to be — then they forget what they just did and start fresh. A great example of this is in “Losing,” where a naked metronome beat falls into a rabbit hole of squiggly keyboard noises and curious synth effects until it eventually sounds like a Kraftwerk record remixed by David Byrne. Next: the very lo-fi “Anaconda,” which is driven by a Spanish-style guitar reminiscent of Beck.
Mostly, however, Teardrop Sweetheart suggests Jeff Tweedy with a drum machine and a penchant for lounge music. Chao’s breathy, yearning and adorably out-of-tune vocals often recall the Wilco frontman, and it’s easy to hear caution being thrown to the wind even as the soft, airy instrumentation wraps around him. That said, what the album lacks in excitement it tries to make up for in fearlessness. It’s a goal worth achieving someday, but more excitement would have done for now.