Trumpets of Death - Teeth + Teeth = Teeths - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Trumpets of Death - Teeth + Teeth = Teeths

by Rich Morris Rating:9 Release Date:2011-03-07

Honestly, this is the kind of band I wish I could discover everyday in this job. A band completely fearless in the face of experimentation, who can switch with wild abandon and consummate ease from art rock noise to weeping piano pieces, and then hop on the groove train to kick around some processed beats, spindly guitars and sax shronks that are almost danceable but mostly just utterly, life-affirmingly weird.

At every twist and turn of their debut, Teeth + Teeth = Teeths (you have to admire their ruthless logic, if not their grammar), there's something new and strange waiting to greet you around the corner. And like the best 70s Krautrock or 60s psychedelia, it's often jarring and surprising while simultaneously making you think "Yes! Of Course!", like you've just stumbled upon something which truly speaks to you. It's there in the celebratory sax and unearthly moans which momentarily break free from the sea shanty sludge of 'The Paper Plough', and again in the gorgeous, fragile synth textures which open 'Woodrows Lament', and in a dozen other places too.

Over the course of five pieces, Trumpets of Death criss-cross their way through a number of influences and touchstones: the avant garde end of Radiohead meets Bowie's desolate Berlin instrumentals; the constantly shifting synth-scapes of Tangerine Dream suddenly crash against Faust at their most forbidding and industrial. At times they sound like Throbbing Gristle using a ouija board to summon the ghost of glam era Bryan Ferry performing 'In Every Dream Home a Heartache' in his best greasy showbiz croon; at others, they sound like 60s hippie-jazz oddities Gong after the acid has gone very bad indeed.

However, through all of this there is a rare focus of a kind which only thoroughly seasoned musicians can summon. And there are songs, buried beneath the noise as they may be. 'The Paper Plough' may even be a love song, although wailed lyrics such as, "This is how it all begins/ With you under my fingers" make it sound like an exquisitely grubby affair. Final track 'Cruel Ships Captain', meanwhile, is sung from the point of view of said captain, who recounts the story of how he picked up a boy for whom he had a particular fancy, only to tie him up and murder him. This tale is delivered over pummelling drums, thrash guitar and schizoid sax honks. And in the midst of it all, the band still manages to locate the funk. Honestly, you won't hear Brother bashing out anything like this any time soon.

Criticisms? Well, you're unlikely to love all of Teeth + Teeth = Teeths (and a lot of people will hate all of it, of course). Some sections of 'Jason', 'Woodrows Lament' and especially 'The Press Gang' (there's a bit of a nautical theme running through the record) are dirge-like mood pieces more than actual, y'know, music. It's never going to be your 'going out' album, unless you're heading out to do something unspeakable. However, Trumpets of Death have delivered a record which is uncompromising in its vision and, most wonderfully, complete in its execution. How rare to be able to say that about any album released in recent memory, especially a debut. It is, it almost goes without saying, a record which richly rewards repeat listens. Teeth + Teeth = Teeths is something music in 2011 desperately needs: a shot of the dark stuff, delivered by people who know exactly what they're doing.

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