[11 February 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
It’s fitting that the title of Tei Shi’s (aka Valerie Teicher’s) latest EP is named Saudade. When translated, it means a feeling akin to that what remains after something is lost—evocative of a kind of nostalgia. Well, nostalgia runs rampant throughout this EP, whether it be on the bitterly sweet “M&Ms” of the melt in your mouth variety, to the a cappella looped final track “Heart-Shaped Birthmark”. There’s plenty here to sit back and be drawn into, such is the captivating power of Teicher’s voice. The music itself ranges from old-school R&B to something of a distinctly dream-pop nature, and it rubs a little like something from the presumably late, great Asobi Seksu, just without the shoegazing sound. Still, the main attraction and draw of this EP is Teicher’s soft coo of a voice, which is pleasant in an appealing way and might remind you of the sing-song of lovebirds.
Which makes the inclusion of a profane track such as “Sickasfuck” all the more disappointing. I have nothing against anyone dropping f-bombs in their lyrics, per se, though some rap artists might do it a little too much. But, here, with Teicher’s fragile vocals, the effect is more jarring than empowering. Still, that flaw aside, this is a pretty great artistic statement, with the jauntily guitar on “Nevermind the End” sounding remotely like a Beach House song. And when Teicher repeats “Please fall with me” on cut “Adder(f)all”, with its subtly satisfying fake-out ending, you want to do exactly that: fall deeply and profoundly in love with her. Ranging from sticky sweet to bitingly tart, the Suadade EP is a range of feelings that offer the promise of a talent to look forward to.