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Learning Curve: TEEN 

TEEN spends time to figure themselves out on new album

click to enlarge Three sisters, raised by a composer father, make up TEEN’s line-up.

Three sisters, raised by a composer father, make up TEEN’s line-up.

Love Yes, the vibrant third album from New York dance-rock quartet TEEN, is a sonic step toward the band's high-energy live shows.

"The main thing was we'd been touring a lot before we made this record and our main focus was to have a record that was a good example of our live performance," says lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Teeny Lieberson. "We felt like when we were touring The Way and Color, that album was more down tempo and a little more syrupy than we wanted to be as a live band. These two things weren't totally matching up. So we wanted a record that expressed us more as a live band."

Formed in 2010, when Teeny Lieberson left the band Here We Go Magic, TEEN features her sisters, Katherine Lieberson on drums and Lizzie Lieberson on keyboards, as well as Boshra AlSaadi on bass. Originally from Novia Scotia, the Lieberson siblings picked up music at a young age as the daughters of composer Peter Lieberson.

TEEN's 2012 debut album, In Limbo, and 2014's The Way and Color explored dance-pop from broad angles, incorporating lush psychedelia and down-tempo R&B. Love Yes is a bolder album, one that finds the band more in sync and more in command of the style they've developed on stage.

The beginning stages of the album, however, were anything but smooth. An early songwriting session in Woodstock, NY was scrapped, except for the song "Please," which Lizzie Lieberson wrote about the sisters' late father. After Woodstock, Teeny Lieberson took off for a songwriting retreat in Kentucky, where the material started to flow much easier.

To record Love Yes, which was released in February on Carpark Records, the band returned to Nova Scotia, setting up at Old Confidence Lodge, a secluded, riverside studio that allowed for maximum focus. Working with producer Daniel Schlett, TEEN recorded the songs live, looking for the sort of in-the-moment spark that could push the album closer to the sound they deliver on stage.

"The making of this record, despite some of the hardship we had in Woodstock, was quite seamless and quite easy," she says. "Woodstock for me felt more like a time when we were figuring out our process, how we write together. I tend to write by myself initially."

The album's title and central theme comes from the song "Love Yes," one of the first songs that came from the songwriting session in Kentucky.

"It was one of those songs that happens very easily. That song is about awakening your senses and saying yes to things rather than shutting down and how that feeling can open up the creative process in human beings in general," Lieberson says. "It felt suitable to us as a band because we were in a good space. It's inviting, and it can mean a lot of things. I can mean literally that, which it's not for me, but it could be for someone else. That's a nice way to interpret it."

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