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Love Yes *
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  • The Way and Color was a promising album, in both senses of the word: it built on In Limbo's potential with heady songs about the first blush of love and lust. On Love Yes, TEEN deliver on those promises in unexpected ways, exploring the real-life consequences of romantic fantasies. Though the band's experimental mix of R&B, synth pop, and indie rock sounds almost as alluring as it did on The Way and Color, Love Yes' subject matter is often anything but. "Tokyo" begins the album with a portrait of a bored husband in search of "younger skin"; from there, TEEN sink their teeth into all kinds of difficult choices and situations, from the guilt-laden '80s slow jam "Another Man's Woman" to "Example"'s frosty hypocrisy to the overpowering longing and jealousy of "Gone for Good." These complex emotions are a perfect match for TEEN's fondness for complex arrangements, making for one-of-a-kind songs like "Animal," which sounds equally feral and self-aware in its mix of noisy keyboards and sweet vocals. As on The Way and Color, Love Yes' uptempo songs are the most immediately winning. The brash, jabbing "All About Us" tells off a passive-aggressive "nice" guy with electrifying results, while "Free Time"'s teasing hooks and brassy, psychedelic coda balance TEEN's pop and experimental leanings perfectly. Occasionally, the band's ambitious musicianship overwhelms these songs, but Love Yes proves itself a worthy sequel to The Way and Color. Equally sensual and challenging, it's the work of a band capable of commitment as well as grand gestures. ~ Heather Phares
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