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TEEN Strengthens Its Family Ties On ‘Love Yes’

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Photo: TEEN press image

The three sisters of the Brooklyn-based band TEEN -- Teeny, Lizzie and Katherine Lieberson -- grew up singing around the family piano. Their father was classical composer Peter Lieberson, who wrote orchestral music, concertos and an opera.

When he died in 2011, TEEN frontwoman Teeny Lieberson says it led the siblings to become bandmates. OpenAir spoke with the band in March before a headlining show at Denver's Hi-Dive.

"That's sort of the beginning of how we processed his death," she says. "It's not a coincidence that we came together very shortly after he passed away to play music and really commit to it."

Teeny started TEEN as a solo project in 2010 after leaving Here We Go Magic. Now, the band features her sisters Katherine on drums and Lizzie on keyboards, along with bassist Boshra AlSaadi.

Teeny wrote most of the material on TEEN’s third album, “Love Yes.” The album’s lyrics explore sensuality, aging and -- yes -- love. The music features upbeat synthesizers, dance rhythms and the harmonies of the Lieberson sisters.

But the songs didn’t come easily. Teeny suffered a long bout of writer’s block after the band's 2014 album, "The Way And Color." So she retreated from New York City to rural Kentucky.

She says the atmosphere and the changing of the seasons soon helped her get out of the slump.

"The surroundings there were perfect," she says. "A lot of rolling hills and big sky and a lot of storms."

The band then recorded “Love Yes” in the Liebersons' secluded family home in Nova Scotia. As the album came together, the band decided to include several short horn interludes.

"We also wanted to have something happening that was in contrast from the rest of the material on the record," Teeny Lieberson says. "Sort of a breath. Like some space, but a musical space."

Photo: TEEN at Hi-Dive
TEEN performing at Hi-Dive on March 29, 2016.

Did their father’s classical pieces inspire these trumpet and saxophone sections? Not exactly.

The band instead cites records by hip-hop artists Wu-Tang Clan and Kendrick Lamar and R&B groups like Total, which feature short, often humorous skits.

Like the band’s first two albums, “Love Yes” features a song about the Lieberson’s late father. Keyboardist Lizzy Lieberson wrote the track, called “Please.” She says her father continues to inspire the band.

"It’s an ongoing process," she says. "He passed away almost five years ago, and I just wrote that song a year ago. It never goes away and I’m constantly processing it. That song in particular felt especially therapeutic."

TEEN’s latest album “Love Yes” is out now.