Album Reviews: Teke Teke, Teenage Fanclub, Mighloe

Teke Teke — Shirushi (Montreal)

As a wonderful blend of modern experimental stylings, rock and a personally eclectic range of Japanese rock influences, Teke Teke is a rare band that sounds like few others. As their songs straddle fun and catchy moments with a lot of indulgent sonic departures, this record nails the balance of weird and exciting. Following its own moody intro, "Kala Kala" shows this idea perfectly with the flute and guitar riffing, while Maya Kuroki's Bjork/Cindy Wilson-like ability to go from melodic to growling vocals just let the emotions of the track flow through her. Whether it's the waves of distortion or the feedback-driven hooks they bring out of the verses, "Barbara" is a joy to put on and dance like a freak to. The groups horns feel the most at home on "Sarabande" in the weirder, more obtuse voicing on display, and the hooks that feel just a little bit dirty. These same horns get even bigger on "Meikyu" where a back and forth of building sections sees the brass all swirling like a true tornado of instruments by its chaotic finale.

Vi — Sleep Through (Single) (Ottawa)

There's a cold darkness to Vi's latest single, that burns with a sense of desperate restlessness and haunted pain. Touching on a Billie Eilish-like delivery through a much more stripped-down sound, Vi's music comes off more neon. The track itself still builds into something more rough and explosive, through the mounting drums. As a snowballing reflection on the madness of unending personal pain, the mounting noise echoes Vi's own story. An anthem that will hopefully help others heal, this track's emotional core is undeniably powerful. 

Iceage — Seek Shelter (Copenhagen, Denmark)

As a band that's just seemed to grow and grow every record, Iceage somehow outperform their last record by a simple matter of scope. With a nostalgic-feeling but wholly their own writing to it, this record feels like one you've been missing for too long. "Shelter Song" opens the whole thing with this celebratory yell, offering you a feeling of coming home, and a dense classic rock tone. The more confrontational edge to "High & Hurt" pushes you to dance, while feeling jagged in a way that keeps the song tense at every turn. "Gold City" seems to ache with a more wild West vibe, and a sense of grandeur that really sees them shedding a lot of their post-punk roots. This is infused into the more fierce rock of "Dear Saint Cecilia" for a raucous barn-burner with a lot of "Jump Into the Fire" electricity.

Mighloe — Rainy Days (Single) (Toronto)

Creeping bass and a rush of real rain set Mighloe's latest single off with a crisp, enticing charm. "Rainy Days" lets all of Mighloe's smooth vocals shine, amidst the glowing riffs and an overall smoky atmosphere. There's a constantly rotating cast of divine notes here, whether it's one of the popping guitar pops or Mighloe's own voice hitting a high all its one. Though dynamically more straightforward, it's the groove and singular feel of the song that makes it such a punchy listen. There's so much to envelop you here, and when Mighloe and the instruments all dance together, the track really hits its peak.

Teenage Fanclub — Endless Arcade (Bellshill/Glasgow, Scotland)

For a bright and warm rock album that takes all the retro shimmer you want without growing too derivative, Teenage Fanclub manages to stay fresh. A simple but relaxing record, it's definitely one to make a long drive go down smooth. "Home" takes its lingering hope for a better time, and seems to let its guitars lament for it. The much faster riffing of "Warm Embrace" makes for a fun and snappy track, taking plenty of Byrds-style influence into a mini song.  The harmonic bliss of "The Sun Won't Shine On Me" offsets its rather sad story, to make a song so rich with charming sounds and tone that it begs a re-listen. The more mysterious approach to "The Future" also sees the group stretching into a more frightening and explorative sounds for them.