Tei Shi's debut is a nearly flawless pop album that lives up to the hype of her previous EPs.Downtown / Interscope, 2017
8.0 / 10
Although Argentinian singer Valerie Teicher, aka Tei Shi, previously released two EPs, she takes us back to the very beginning on her debut LP Crawl Space. This debut includes tape recordings from Teicher’s childhood. On one such recording, “Bad Singer”, Teicher expresses a desire to one day be like Britney Spears. At the time, Spears was probably THE role model for most young girls aspiring to be pop singers. Now, not so much. However, it feels like an important confession on Crawl Space. It speaks volumes about Teicher’s progression as a musician. Instead of straightforward friendly pop, her debut album balances electronic pop and modern R&B. Modern influences like Rihanna are present while also nodding to the past, Janet Jackson and Prince. It also embraces more obscure styles similar to Grimes and FKA Twigs. All of it mixes as an alluring potpourri that grabs you instantly.
Crawl Space immediately takes off running with the aptly titled “Keep Running”. Tei Shi describes the song as a call-to-arms love song. Its pace is urgent as if Teicher gives the impression that she’s moving on no matter what. When she sings, “Every time I look over my shoulder/ I’m getting older,” she expresses her growth as a person. She knows what she wants from a relationship, and she’s not willing to put up with bullshit. Obviously, that’s a hard thing for many people to compromise with. Teicher’s cool confidence carries over into the following song, “Creep”. It lives up to its namesake as its beat creeps in the shadows behind Teicher’s fluttery voice. It’s sneaky like a vampire hunting its prey. The unhinged horns in its climax signal a kill has been made. You’re the victim; although, a very willing one.
Teicher crawls through a variety of styles on the album. The minimal beat of “Justify” gives Teicher plenty empty space to fill with attitude. She uses this opportunity to mimic Prince’s vocal style, and she does it justice. The production behind “How Far” nearly steals the song. Its melody pushes tension to the forefront. On the song, Teicher sings about how people try to change each other while in relationships, “How far it can take us before it forsakes us?”
Teicher’s sex appeal is all over Crawl Space but most prominent on “Year 3K” and “Baby”. The latter is a more soulful song. Teicher’s breathy vocals are tender while also clinging to strength as a love disintegrates. “Hold me close, and we can dance to the violins/ Let me know, I wanna go down in silence, silence,” she sings. Why would you let this woman get away? Well, the truth is I don’t think any of us will after Crawl Space. This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.