Teeth of the Sea - Wraith - - Soundblab

Teeth of the Sea - Wraith

by Rob Taylor Rating:10 Release Date:2019-02-22
Teeth of the Sea - Wraith
Teeth of the Sea - Wraith

Wraith, the fifth album from Teeth of the Sea is another one to straddle musical divides, channelling prog-inspired soundtracks, jazz, minimal techno, rock and ambient into a multi-faceted soundstage that delivers what can only be described as a cerebral head-fuck of sound. Much of Wraith’s awesome pull comes from the capacity to restrain those elements; to programme the listening experience into equal parts awakening and plaintive rumination. The muted trumpet that you hear throughout the album plays like Miles Davis’s more solemn improvisations on In a Silent Way, or even earlier on the Gil Evan’s collaborations, Quiet Nights. Which isn’t to say that Teeth of the Sea’s music soothes the soul as those albums do, but rather the trumpet as used here is palliative, gentle but backgrounded by violence. Violence in the form of serious room shaking bass drops, or violence in the suggestion of misfeasance. Like a Goblin soundtrack for instance.

What fascinates, as much as entertains, is the music's brilliant way of inculcating, making you wonder, working its way into your mind. I’m not usually one for an album that jumps about in mood, but Wraith works, and I think it comes down to some astute groundwork. The album sits well chronologically, arousing moods and referencing the past so brilliantly as to produce nostalgia for the great music of yore. Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Goblin, Ry Cooder, Miles Davis, Morricone, Ulrich Schnauss, and Wagner came to mind. Yes, Wagner. The track ‘Wraiths in the Wall’ is a kind of mash-up on 'Ride of the Valkyries', and although this may not be deliberate, such a reference to redemptive feminine power is not entirely out of place in the masculine drive of the rhythm section.

There are some wonderfully subversive aspects to Wraith, such as the acoustic folk and female harmonising on ‘Fortean Steed’ only serving to highlight the uncomfortable sense that a random descent into wayward electronics is just around the corner. The fact that this occurs without any sense of having your moods artificially shaped is testament to Teeth of the Sea’s masterful ensemble work.

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