Review Summary: A mesmerizing second chapter in a beautiful year of music from Teen Daze.
Bookending the year with their LP-pair Themes for…
, Teen Daze have offered us two gorgeous perspectives: February’s Dying Earth
, and now November’s New Earth
. Thematically, the British Columbian project - serving as Jamison Isaak’s stage name - could have done a lot more to offer distinction, as both installments feel like trust falls into puffy clouds of beautiful electro-folk ambience. There was nothing foreboding enough about Dying Earth
to provide contrast to Isaak’s latest tranquil unveiling, aside perhaps from the subtle detail that New Earth
completely foregoes vocals, taking the gentle atmosphere of its predecessor and making it even more humble and serene. While S. Carey and others admittedly lent an added dimension of depth to Dying Earth
, New Earth
feels even more liberated with its unshackling of verbal confines – like a post-human Earth dominated by the forces and sounds of nature.
Somewhere between the pastoral winters of Horse Feathers’ House With No Home
and the romantic summer evenings of Iron & Wine’s The Shepherd’s Dog
exists this cozy little instrumental piece, a musical distillation of spring or autumn that blends various elements of dream-pop, indie-folk, and chillwave. Themes for a New Earth
is comprised of beautiful melodies and intricate layering designed to transport you; a goal commonly achieved via stunners such as the immersively warm ‘Kilika’ and the echoed, fading ambience of forlorn moments like ‘Prophets.’ Dropping the featured acts that were randomly sprinkled throughout Themes for Dying Earth
(S. Carey, Nadia Hulett, Dustin Wong, Sound of Ceres, Jon Anderson) has seemingly allowed Isaak much more room to operate, as New Earth
somehow feels more intimate and
expansive simultaneously. Shimmering keys and entrancing synths swirl about this album, offering an entire world – this New Earth
– to get lost in. It’s dazzling but modest, and at all times a beautiful record to listen to.
Albums like Themes for a New Earth
actually are not uncommon, as just about every indie-folk or ambient artist has tried his or her hand at the “instrumental nature-wave” approach. However, it’s rarely executed with such a high level of competency and creativity that the piece feels both immediately digestible yet outward-stretching in such a way that demands repeated listens. New Earth
possesses an enormous array of pristine imagery, the likes of which can only be filled in by your imagination as you allow the music to envelop your senses. It may take you to the wave-crashing shoreline of the album’s artwork, or to starry nights overlooking the city skyline. Or perhaps it’s far more unassuming than that, like raindrops rolling down your apartment window or seeing your own breath on a freezing morning before school. It’s whatever you make it. It’s limitless, and that makes it new