TEE VEE Gives You A Soft Spot On Debut EPTEE VEE. Photo: Courtesy of Artist
The synth pop world is full of acts that grab your attention from first listen while becoming guilty pleasures for the listeners. For a long time, it felt like a large part of the acts in the genre didn’t really grow, while still grasping plenty of attention in the process of repetitiveness. For Houston’s TEE VEE, that’s never been the case. If you’ve followed her career, then you’ve witnessed a true growth, as the music has gone from bedroom pop to fully fledged electro pop, almost like she’s hell bent to keep things interesting for herself as well as for the listener. On her debut EP Soft Spot, TEE VEE takes her bedroom based sounds to a heavier place without feeling overbearing, creating a sound that’s closer to dark electronica with a heavy pop influence than the typical synth pop release. With plenty of synths and catchy beats, the entire EP is a refreshing take on a genre that’s usually so saccharine that it’s often hard for some to digest.
Opening with the lead single “Angel Eyes,” a mix of synths and a hook heavy beat are met with the singer’s angelic vocals. The sincerity in her voice alone should be enough to draw any listener in, though the pop aesthetics in the song keep your attention while your you can’t help but want to stop what you’re doing and break out into dance. There’s a magical embrace between technology and sincerity that comes through and through with each note, offering a sound that seems familiar but not copied either. This is followed by the darker side of the songs on “Another Way.” While the song isn’t dark electronica, it’s almost like if two different groups collaborated on the track to come up with a soft pop gem. These sweet little beat infused synths hop on and off while the vocals pull you in and these synths that are closest to early Depeche Mode find their way into the mix.
The third track, “Crystalline,” returns to the synth pop world, reminding you of a mix like if early Erasure and The Human League made a track together. Again, the vocals are the hook here with TEE VEE bringing an almost childlike enthusiasm to the song like a teen singing to a boyfriend that doesn’t exist yet. The pop elements here are pretty immense, grabbing you almost immediately with the opening sequence before the song gets in your head to a point where you can’t shake it. However, on “Echoes,” TEE VEE takes us to a slower paced and deeper place than the previous songs would suggest. While the track is essentially pop-based, the notes are darker and thicker than the happier ones in songs that came before it. The ’80s synth influence here is strong, though it doesn’t overshadow the overall sound. Full of soft elements and a vocal that seems to be fit snugly in-between the beat and the keys, TEE VEE is stretching her musical legs here in a way that’s hard to ignore, and certainly offered up in a fashion that you can’t let go from. There’s a moment where the vocals are at the forefront of the track, and they grip you like a vice while echoing in the wake of the song even after it’s finished.
Things are closed off with the darker elements of “Star*,” living where acts like Xymox and China Crisis called home without sounding like they were ever lifted. There’s a lot more depth than the average electro pop release, and this song is a great example of that. There are moments where it sounds like she’s singing to the skies, making this is one of the several standouts of the release, and place TEE VEE in a different place than most of the artists in the genre. The beat and the synth cluster offer a deeper reference point, while the airy vocals make you long for the track to go longer than the three minutes it plays for.
Overall, TEE VEE proves that electro pop can have more elements without feeling heavy handed. By adding darker components and eighties synths, the compositions land with more intent to a place where you don’t know what’s more ever present, the pop or the depth, but you really don’t care because the tracks are so catchy that you’ll forget about both with the first listen. You can catch TEE VEE at her EP release party on Saturday April 29 at Civic TV Collective. The BYOB and all ages show has doors at 8 pm and performances from MIEARS and Andrew Lee with a $5 cover.