Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Crawl Space | Tei Shi

If the childhood cassette recordings that glue her debut album together paint an accurate self-portrait, Argentine singer-songwriter Tei Shi has always been a handful. "I'm a bad singer, can't do anything well. I think I sing so great, but I never really do anything right. I just hope one day I can be like Britney Spears," a young Tei Shi tells her boombox recorder. And when those dreams of fulfilling the Spears lifestyle entered the realm of possibility a few years ago, she was just as doubtful: "I forced myself into doing this thing that I was really afraid of doing," she told DIY Magazine about entering the music industry after attending the Berklee College of Music.

Recognizing a history of self-loathing and anxiety, she attacks all of her fears point-blank with her debut album, Crawl Space. Capturing the essence of the narrow, dank space Tei Shi often visited at night as a child to combat her fear of the dark, it is an echoing pop record adorned with mysterious shrieks and extraneous spurts of energy. Insulated by a cloak of anonymity within the darkness, her ambient dreams and disruptive tendencies clash unabashedly, translating to a schizophrenic, albeit revealing and enjoyable, product of experimentation.

As she spills the details of her worries in life and her losses in love, Tei Shi sprawls across the branches of pop music, taking her best stab at dance pop ("Say You Do"), dwindling within Chairlift's oddly enticing neighborhood ("Creep"), and splattering her heart across a grueling guitar line ("How Far"). And although her voice and demeanor both were shrouded in reverberation and behind a wall of blaring synthesizers on past extended plays, they take command and remain the guiding forces to hone a consistent vision here – an eccentric, honest vision from an artist who just conquered all of her fears in one zealous swish.

Crawl Space is available now under Downtown Records.

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