TeaTronik :: Teatronica (Diatribe)

This accomplished attempt at mainstream electronica proves the labels dynamism—the ability to work successfully in both experimental and popular genres.

Teatronica is a step in a new direction for Irish record label, Diatribe. Up to this point their entire catalog has been dubbed experimental or at the very least, for niche audiences. The release prior to Teatronica was Thought-Tronix: My Guess Remixed, which featured electro-acoustic jazz—you can understand the surprise when the press notes for TeaTronik read electronic pop. This record is a much more straightforward piece with the mainstream in focus.

What you end up with is a simple sound—it’s quaint, tidy and settled. For better or worse, there aren’t many surprises. You could play Teatronica at a hipster cafe and none of the customers would be disturbed. Simplicity is the name of the game. The percussive sounds are bright and wispy, the synths and pads usually playing major chords. There are ambient moments and even a few drum breaks. Piano keys are layered in here too. Vocalist, Monika Harkin is Teatronica’s lifeblood, with all of the instruments playing second fiddle. The mix is pleasant without a matter of urgency.

Harkin’s performance is definitely up to it—hanging in there with Portishead’s Beth Gibbons and even reminiscent of Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins). She’s mostly wistful, but only because this kind of laid back electronica requires her to be. When things crank up on a chorus, she can really belt it out.

All in all, this is an interesting diversion for Diatribe Records. One that though not earth-shattering, is certainly accomplished. Importantly, TeaTronik plugs a gaping hole in the labels discography—the pop genre. Some may be put off by Teatronica‘s soft edges, but its change in direction is another string to Diatribe’s bow. This accomplished attempt at mainstream electronica proves the labels dynamism—the ability to work successfully in both experimental and popular genres.

Teatronica is available on Diatribe. [Release page]

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