Thursday, July 30, 2020

Review: Die 4 Ur Love • Tei Shi

To die for one’s love is a strong statement, but Tei Shi is more than capable of making music to match it.

While it was a phenomenal release, Tei Shi’s last full-length record, La Linda, was released without much fanfare late last year as her contractual relationship to her label clearly neared its inelegant end. In contrast, her newest extended play, Die 4 Ur Love, feels much more enjoyable and much less like an obligation. Written during a retreat just before COVID-19 began its rampage this year, the release escapes for a short time into both playful imagination and impending doom – a perfect encapsulation of 2020 if ever there were one.

An exemplary show of arms in pop songwriting, the title track builds and bursts with an undying urgency as an apocalypse looms in the near distance; its opening hums are later interpolated into “Goodbye,” a chugging downtempo cut that welcomes the end (of a record contract, at least) with open arms. It’s not all gloom, though: She impersonates a stalker on “OK Crazy,” a stellar cosplay of a vintage workout track, and chases down a missing man on “Johnny,” which toys with some spaghetti western undertones.

When blogs and music publications began to cover Tei Shi, she was thrown into the clan of “bedroom pop” artists – those who came to ranks online, weren’t expected to break into mainstream culture, and didn’t care. And as it turns out, that’s exactly where Tei Shi belonged and has returned. Die 4 Ur Love may have commercial pop on the mind as it contrasts her light, simple harmonies with thick beats and a few fickle influences, but it doesn’t try to be anything but a sign that Tei Shi is free to do whatever the hell she wants – and it feels great.

Die 4 Ur Love is available now under Diktator Records.

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