The Teeth: Homewrecker

One of the best things to do as a music critic is take a release and stick it in without doing any research.  Research should come after.  Why?  Because this gets all of the stereotyping out of your system, so when you prove yourself wrong you end up with a much more honest review.  It's a form of flagellation, if you will, self-debasement.  But let's open this with some stereotyping anyway.  Thought this was from France at first.  Why?  Because French hardcore dominates, it destroys all.  You feel silly saying that, knowing the stereotype of the French spread throughout the world, but that's because you haven't listened.  It's inventive, its kicks off its Converses for spiked steel-toes, it scratches tattoos from its skin with a crowbar to turn them into scars, it's simply the best hardcore in the world currently.  So it means you've really done something if you've gotten to that level of mistaken identity, because The Teeth isn't from France, they're from the US, where hardcore really had its start.  But since that start about 90% of it is still stuck back then, everyone pretending they're 18 when they're really three times that age smoking the same old chords, chugging the same old lyrics, wearing the same old 'merch' and hocking it with CD-Rs.  Old school hardcore is fine for what it is, but if you want a challenge, you need to do something different.  If we wanted to read the same book every day of our lives, we would, but the mind requires variation.  The Teeth, well, old school isn't really in their blood, they're doing things in a newer way, but with enough of the original sound that it bridges the age-old gap of legend without pissing off either party in question.

 
 

Homewrecker, yeah, dig the artwork.  It almost speaks of domestic violence but it's a dude on the cover, so various theories crowd your mind.  Either way, confrontational is always good, literally and figuratively.  Plus, for a hardcore act that verges on post with some punk, even blackened punk a bit, The Teeth may perhaps be the best band name possible.  It's gritty and vivid instead of saggy and yawn-worthy.  No shoe references here, no two-step pit kicks and lawnmower motions, friends, this stuff is going to dig down and hold its jaw shut on your arm.  The Teeth have a good balance of style here.  Opening with "Wind Up" they immediate begin with pure assault, massive chords, drum breaks that thankfully never go the chug-a-lug route, interesting tempo shifts, and plenty of that throat, red-faced, bloodshot screaming that's the hallmark of the best hardcore.  Sometimes, though, this kind of singing can get redundant and tiresome, but somehow the delivery here is spot on in terms of production levels, not far enough in the background and not too far in the front.  Just right.

 

Back to the chord work.  It's immediately noticeable; lots of surprising variety.  The Teeth doesn't stick to the 4/4 mother-beat nor the usual "oddity" you find with some of these modern hardcore bands.  They experiment, they play with style, they mix in some blackened riffs, they do things new, but with enough classic to not distance themselves.  And that's always a plus.  Plus number two is the amount of variety.  Each song is recognizable in its own right and they never bleed into each other or confuse.  "Did I put this on random repeat?" will never be a question you'll ask while listening to Homewrecker.  The vocal style is equally impressive, for the most part.  The screams are done with just the right delivery.  Sometimes hardcore boys sound like they're whining, like they need a good kick or slap upside the head to get them to finish their homework.  It's often immature and frankly infantile.  Here, however, there's some life experience behind this voice, he gets angry, he gets deep at times, they all get angry, and some of the combo singing, such as in "High on Life," are killer.  The one complaint you can find, though, is when the attempt is made to go clean.  Generally, doesn't work.  When it's light, quick, and merely a complement to the screaming, it's fine, but when it switches from throat spattering blood to throat that's just pubed, yeah don't do that.  Simply put, the clean singing at times needs a lot of work, it doesn't cut it, it sounds completely absent of vocal training, and that's something underestimated about going clean.  However, minor detail, overall this was a sick listen, highly recommended for fans of modern hardcore.

 

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Written by Stanley Stepanic

The Teeth: Homewrecker
Rock Paper Records
4.5 / 5