With a style that combines Soccer Mommy’s 90’s alternative musical packaging and Big Thief’s diaristic alt-folk lyrical storytelling, Glasgow-based 3 piece TEOSE produce a chimerical blend of New Wave, Dreampop, and Grunge. Fronted by writer/producer Melissa Brisbane, TEOSE have been quietly recording and self-releasing a series of DIY recordings while the world was on lockdown, eventually coming to the attention of UK independent record label Kaleidoscope at the beginning of 2021. Their songwriting has a deceptively simple brilliance, layering fuzz-laden steady guitar riffs under joyous pop-inflected lead lines, all underpinning lyrics laced with both humour and heartache, a style which drew comparisons to The Cure from the Scottish Alternative Music Awards.
Their latest single ‘Oh’ is a two and a half minute precis of the poppier side of the TEOSE sound, opening with an instantly memorable guitar hook with the sort of pop melody that belies the quickly-developing lyrical narrative of insecurity and inner conflict. The music operates as an upbeat counterweight to the scathing self-analysis in Brisbane’s lyrics, which sees her take turns to caution both herself (“And I wish I could stop being like this / It’s selfish, I know I should just get a grip”) and her partner (“I’ll expect you to chase me anyways / And when you don’t I’ll be so upset”) about her self-destructive behaviour. Yet the chorus, conversely, offers a message of hopeful contrast and self-reliance: “If you don’t comfort me I will be comforted / By a little self-therapy”.
It is this sense of inner conflict and self-contradiction at the heart of the track which Brisbane explains gives rise to the use of the almost childlike and petulant “La la la’s” in the chorus:
“The track flips between me being fairly reasonable and understanding with myself, to then being really annoyed at the irrational way I’m acting. Parts of it feel like the adult version of me is trying to say something important while the child version is sticking her fingers in her ears and singing ‘La la la’ over it.”
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