Sam Ray, the creative force behind Teen Suicide, always meant for his latest album to be the end of a chapter. It’s the Big Joyous Celebration, Let’s Stir the Honeypot (Run For Cover Records) makes clear within minutes that there is very little door closing going on here. With a sound that ranges from the lofi electronic pop of “Obvious Love” to the shambling twang of “Long Way Down” to the americana of “Neighborhood Drug Dealer”, the sheer ground covered across the 26 song tracklist can be dizzying.
Critical praise poured in from multiple music sites, making it redundant to sit here and delve further into the themes behind the album. Writers at Spin gave it a 9/10, named it one of the top 50 albums of 2016, and saw fit to publish an an incredibly in-depth look at the process behind writing the album. With all of those distinctions, it’s hard not to consider this album an instant classic. Like other albums deserving of that title, it comes to life anew with each listen, giving the audience back as much as they are willing to put in.
Three songs were tracked with engineer/producer Sean Mercer, who also contributed drums and vocals to the album alongside a staggeringly long list of other musicians. “Living Proof”, “Long Way Down”, and “Alex” make their mark as having an elevated fidelity that serves to cut through the haze surrounding other tracks. The genre hopping tracklist allows the different recording styles to exist next to each other without pushing the listener away. Sean and Sam worked together to achieve a more saturated sound, using cassette recorders and utilizing Mobtown’s array of analog preamps and effects. This helped to submerge the recordings into the carefully crafted universe that this album inhabits. It’s hard to imagine just where this album points to for future recordings, but it appears as though the door has been left wedged open for now and we’ll catch a glimpse soon.
Guitar and vocals by Sam Ray
Drums by Sean Mercer
Produced and mixed by Sean Mercer