If the new-ishly reconstituted R&S label’s releases have taught us anything so far about what to expect, it’s been that by and large pop – and we know that’s a big-ass target to define right there – has continued to belong to another domain.
An exception however can be made for TeenGirl Fantasy (aka production duo Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss) who on ‘Tracer‘ spend their time glistening like angelic perspiration and unashamedly cracking off tunes that not only flirt with the mainstream, they take it for a 21st century ride at the speed of love.
Their knack is to revitalise the guru/collaborator formula, rescuing it from the depths of conformity by taking risks and stretching their amalgam of tech house and glossy electronica into profiles that fit both the under and overground. This excess of good taste comes in one stripe from hiring the increasingly busy Romanthony, whose vocals elevate ‘Do It‘ from a standard 303 template into something more left field, retro that will keep the more discerning crowds interested. By contrast ‘EFX‘, featuring Kelela, is R&B without the B, all inter-galactic synth vamps and Rustie-esque programming.
Away from the hired hands the pair show that they’re about carefully choosing some avenues to explore which they feel they can own; ‘End‘ has the same wafting, eighties brio that’s an heirloom of chill wave, but ‘Eternal‘ recalls the later Britain-cum-Detroit classics of the Artificial Intelligence series. Probably their biggest coup however in networking terms will be persuading Animal Collective‘s Panda Bear to come along for the trip, and although it reads like lazy criticism, his effort ‘Pyjama Party‘ is undoubtedly ‘Tracer’s pivotal moment. Part dreamy, space-engineered glamour, part nervous, darkly throbbing post dubstep all complemented by lovingly distorted vocals and making everything sound like it’s a second or two behind itself all the time.
It’s impossible to know now what specifically a teenage girl’s fantasy would be, so perhaps it’s easier to believe that ‘Tracer’ might be the result if one had a silver tether to her consciousness on a night when first falling in love.
If it is, let the end never come.