Tei Shi - Crawl Space
If you hadn't realized by the album cover, Tei Shi is out there. The Argentine born singer songwriter has plowed her trade in the electropop synthpop genre, always with a bend towards the artistic. This debut full length Crawl Space begins with what we assume is herself and her father talking into an old tape recorder and figuring out how the thing actually works. It is sweet, with a bit of an anxious song playing distantly, an odd opening but one that fits her talents. Dreamy R&B may be the best way to describe this record, as you will get sultry singing, the occasional "skrrrt" and a fair dose of electronics. If this sounds a bit like she is throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks you aren't far off, yet the choices she makes actually land. The horns on "Creep" should feel out of place and be an awkward addition, yet Tei Shi is able to make them work, and work well. Then "Baby" comes on and has this guitar line that sounds almost like the Motown days, but if those days were on acid. The track is a love song, but one grounded in totally psychedelic sound adding a completely new dimension. During one of the interludes Tei Shi talks about how she just "wants to be Britney Spears" and it is at that point that the record takes a decidedly pop shift. "Say You Do" loses almost all the edge she's manages to build up in the previous tracks and just feels far to basic to be on this record.
The more generic songs rip you out of this hazy sexy world that Tei Shi tries to cultivate on the record and while adding a bit of brightness they do not really push the record forward. "Justify" on the other hand is so vulnerable and open, yet has a totally odd almost Prince-esque instrumentation and singing that you cannot help but fall in face first. That is really what Tei Shi is best at, taking you on the deep dive but making sure there is always a rope to get you back home. The one Spanish song "Como Si" features a sultry latin sound but of course with Tei Shi's synthy twinge bringing in yet another side to the song. Tei Shi also almost exclusively sings without an accent which is so nice to hear someone really singing full voice this well. However you can't help but feel like this record is missing something. It could be a little more aggression or something a bit darker, but because Tei Shi's voice is so damn pretty you really need to bring a hard edge with the music to balance it out. "Crawl" does this a bit yet it never fully delivers. Crawl Space is a really nice first album, but it also shows that Tei Shi has somewhere to go. With Her skill set and Her knack for experimentation there is no doubt that she will eventually get there.
7.1 out of 10