Raime - Tooth

by Justin Pearson Rating:8 Release Date:2016-06-10

Employing a sleek, clean production that combines elements of post-rock and dub-techno, Tooth sees London-based electronic duo Raime stepping out of the shadows that darkened their debut album Quarter Turns Over a Living Line. The darkness is still present, but there's more meat to sink your teeth into; it's raw, with exposed fibers that are taut and ready to rip through. Their previous album's universe seemed created in a slow implosion brought on by a bleak sense of alienation. There's still a mood of otherness, certainly, but it's now more steady and purposeful, more melodic - not too unlike contemporaries Beak>, another band whose aesthetic flows in a similar vein.

These songs are uncomfortable, but in a compelling way. The melodies have a beckoning quality, as if trying to lead you to something, whether it be a vast openness to wander in or an oppressive claustrophobia awaiting you in the near distant future. 'Hold Your Line' is a good example of this, balancing both possibilities on a teetering, guitar-led motif interspersed with sudden bursts of a processed vocal sample. 'Cold Cain' feels restless, as does the aptly named 'Stammer' with its abrasive guitar that's stuck in a swirl of confusion.

At times it even borders on downright creepy. 'Coax' is predatory, hunting and prowling for the elusive thing it seeks. The dread of 'Front Running' can be heard in its metallic, hinge-like squeals. It's the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard in its unsettling nature.

Where Tooth really shines is in its slow boil hypnosis. 'Dead Heat' licks with a hot tongue, itsĀ  flares of burnt synth shooting forth while a guitar and bass line simmer like hot embers awaiting the next big eruption. 'Dialling In, Falling Out' is built upon an alternating two-note guitar pick repeating over a lightly driving rhythm, and you could even call it upbeat amid the largely stark nature of the album.

A careful patience that has its sights set on some eventual reward underlined by a tension that never fully resolves, Tooth makes for a listen that excites and keeps the hairs on your neck raised in anticipation. Where before you could only glimpse them as silhouettes in the background, Raime now appear as fully formed figures, even if they're not visible by the bright light of day. The shroud has lifted enough to show them as more present, confrontational, minus the inward content that's wont to thrive beneath such a veil. Tooth is pure minimalism with a maximal, strong jaw to support its tensile, singular bite.

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