Gig review: Teen at Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds

Teen
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There might be some claims for misrepresentation filed against Kristina ‘Teeny’ Lieberson when she sings, “I’ll do it better than anybody else.”

Teen could even be the litigants against ‘Better’ given that they can certainly make improvements on tonight’s set.

Where the Brooklyn quartet display cute krautrocky garage on second album The Way And Color, their live incarnation is somewhat confused. Tracks drawn from it are virtually unrecognizable from their studio versions, with at least four different bands trying to escape from these rocked up arrangements.

At the core is an indebtedness to Warpaint but their forays into psychedelia are variously replaced by the East Coast harmonies of Haim, the goth-rock of Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Europop of a darkly numb ABBA, and the heaviness of The Stooges.

This tantalizing range of influences could see them transported into being the Paisley Underground daughters of Spacemen 3. There are even occasional flashes of this potential in keyboardist Lizzie Lieberson’s sub-Aphex Twin ambient burbles, Boshra AlSaadi’s thrumming and at times dub-lite bass lines, and Katherine Lieberson’s minimalistically rooted drumming which alternates between a kit and pads.

There’s nonetheless a disappointing slackness to the way these sounds are amalgamated that undermines their ambitions.

It’s usually to a band’s credit when they rearrange tracks for the live environment rather than simply doing a safe retread of the studio versions but Teen have unfortunately entered into this spirit while failing to add any extra flashes of colour.

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