Profile: Teenage Symphony
Teenage Symphony has to be one of Dallas' strangest pop bands. They recently told us via email that our description of them as a Spacemen 3 marching band fronted by people with a Brian Wilson fetish was dead on as far as what they're into and where they're coming from, and considering that your typical Daryl Blacktie Davies Dallas pop band tries as hard as they can to sound like that Dandy Warhols album about monkeys (and even fail miserably at that), we hope Teenage Symphony keep doing things more than a little bit differently.
The band was started by keyboardist Mikal Beth in December 2005, and consists of five members: two are teachers (one is an elementary school choir teacher), two are former marching band kids, three are high school drop outs, one was a music major, and all five sing. Pretty damn well I might add. Mikal met guitarist J. Louis III while the two were teaching together at a middle school, and when Louis was fired for "conduct unbecoming," he eventually began working at a Plano alternative school where he met guitarist Geoffrey Spungeon and drummer Christopher Glass. After meeting bassist Lucas J. at a bookstore, Louis, Mikal and the rest united and began recording demos early this year on an 8 track at Louis' apartment.
The band's sound is certainly inspired by the psychedelic, but they approach it from a fairly unique prospective (and extraordinarily unique locally), mixing in heavy doses of choral spiritual music and 60's vocal groups like the Zombies and the Beach Boys, with tons of reverb and a dark, lo-fi, almost hollow sounding recording style that lends quite well to what they do, adding an element of empty creepiness to their songs. And if the above doesn't really sound like a description of a pop band, it is because Teenage Symphony isn't anything like most groups that earn the label. A listen to their tunes reveals that their songs are quite catchy and traditionally structured; but the way they sing, what they sing about, and their minimal yet generous arrangements all add an element of weirdness that you just wouldn't expect from people that seem to be so influenced by music that is usually quite happy and straight forward. The songs are fairly lengthy and trance-like at times, causing the listener to get lost in their world of echoes and ghostly vocals. The music itself isn't really psychedelic but the approach certainly is, allowing the band's distinct personality to add to the effect.
After just a few short months together, Teenage Symphony has already demonstrated their unique take on some of the more popular forms of American Pop music from the past five decades, and considering that they are one of the few bands in DFWd with multiple vocalists that can actually sing, it seems that they can push their style in all kinds of interesting directions, and that they intend to do just that. It is nice to hear a Dallas area band that realizes that pop rock doesn't have to be polished in order to be good, and that being catchy doesn't have anything to do with making music that could be played on the Edge. Teenage Symphony is certainly a band worth keeping your eye on.
"We Will Be Together" MP3