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Teengirl Fantasy - 7AM




I like to imagine it’s 7am round at the Teengirl Fantasy house, somewhere in the USA. Morning sunlight through faded curtains illuminates a discarded trucker cap. Wide-eyed youths mong on mouldy sofas after a night on the latest research chemical. In the corner a “dude” is “packing a bowl”. And out of tinny laptop speakers, Now That’s What I Call Chillwave.

Now, Google results might prove me wrong but I’m still not sure if anyone knows what chillwave is. Despite this 7am is perhaps a prime slab of it. It’s dance music you can’t dance to (there’s no groove). It’s pop music you can’t sing along to (there’s no hooks). It’s background music you can’t have on in the background (there’s too much going on). Probably no one owns the physical product. A lot of effort seems to have been invested in giving it a studied air of directionless, unfocused ADD. And most interestingly, it’s not as bad as all that may sound.

On first listen the whole album may pass by completely, in a haze of cut-up samples, fuzzy synths, low low BPMs and vaguely tricksy FX. Unless you are someone particularly incensed by classic house music signifiers being used inappropriately (in which case you may be enraged) the only thing that stands out is “Dancing In Slow Motion”, an almost-song which gets nearer to the “80s pop cassette third-generation redub” ideal than anything else on the album.

Repeated listens yield more interest, not all good. For a start, there’s a laughable gabba-at-100bpm kick starting “Floor To Floor”. And the ponderous sampledelia of “Make The Move” is so heavily treated it sounds like a chronologically impossible DJ Screw remix of The Avalanches. I don’t know if this is intentional for comic effect; I hope so.

Balancing this out are some undeniably strong moments, like the satisfyingly treacly analogue bassline on “In The Rain” (there’s that house music signifier). The lightly-hyped “Cheaters” is a clever and interesting use of a blatant Philly disco sample - as opposed to obvious but effective - bending Love Committee’s “Cheaters Never Win” into a wistful but uplifting tune with the help of another glorious deep bassline. And album closer “Forever The Feeling” is like a less restrained version of The Field, as microsamples collide with each other in a good way.

But overall, this isn’t going to set the world alight. In fact, it didn’t. 7am is now coming up to six months old and I think we’ve all moved on, leaving the album to gather digital dust in multi-gigabyte iTunes libraries and soon-forgotten “best of 2010” lists. Which is a shame, although maybe one day someone will make that definitive chillwave compilation to help me out and Teengirl Fantasy will deserve at least one track. If it’s a 2CD.
Sam Stagg

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