Teengirl Fantasy's Nick Weiss and Logan Takahashi are the latest indie dance producers to find themselves swept up in a wave of melancholia. The contrast between despondence and celebration is a well-worn formula in dance music, one that's recently snuck onto the pop charts through the Jamie xx-produced Drake song Take Care.
The Brooklyn-based duo's sophomore album plays in a similarly wistful emotional and musical grey zone, but this time they've scrapped the sample-based production methods employed on their debut in favour of original vocals. The result is a slow burner full of thoughtfully crafted intros and outros and instrumentals made up of layers upon layers of zig-zagging rhythms. Luminous analog ambience flirts with full-blown techno and house but refuses to settle into obvious preprogrammed beats.
Vocally, Tracer is less consistent. House veteran Romanthony's soulful but by-the-book lyrics feel throwaway, though it's the closest we get to fist-pumping club catharsis. More interesting is Panda Bear, who steers listeners into fizzy psych-pop on Pyjama. Overall, it's an ambitious and beautiful album.
Top track: Eternal