The Teeth | You're My Lover Now (Park the Van)

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cd_teethIf imitation is the best form of flattery, consider The Kinks flattered after a spin of You're My Lover Now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some bands are content to merely rehash their sound, sounding more or less the same for their entire career. Then there are bands like Philadelphia's The Teeth, who shift from genre to genre, never able to settle on just one idea. With 14 tracks breezing in at 37 minutes, and drawing inspiration such diverse sources as glam-era Bowie, early Kinks and absurdly off-the-wall pop from the Talking Heads, The Teeth create a totally original, yet uniquely familiar, debut album full of easy '60s pop gems and rockers with flourishes of burlesque theatricality.

You're My Lover Now is an album full of musical contrasts. From the bouncy ragtime opener "Molly Make Him Pay," with its punchy rhythm and theatrical piano to "Ball of the Dead Rat," a sunny rock anthem complete with a great synth driven chorus that continues to build momentum to a full-out explosion that never happens, one gets the idea that The Teeth revel in never being predictable.

If imitation is the best form of flattery, consider The Kinks flattered after a spin of You're My Lover Now. "The Coolest Kid in School" departs slightly from the theatrical tone of the album, yet with its jangly guitars, bouncy piano and softly cooing backing vocals, is one of the strongest tracks on the album. If sounding like a modern version of The Kinks is The Teeth's greatest strongpoint, it is also their greatest downfall. After repeated listens, one can't help but hope The Teeth do better at combining their many inspirations on their next album and find their own sound.

Finding inspiration more in vaudeville circuses then village greens, the other side of The Teeth is darker, more shocking and wonderfully more original. The Teeth seem at home with ragtime pianos, overly dramatic vocals and oddly eerie keyboards trailing off in the distance. The Teeth work as a modern-day Goofus and Gallant. While Gallant proudly displays his love of '60s pop beauty, Goofus would rather malevolently shred guitars in defiance of pop music standards. I don't know about you, but I've always been a Goofus fan.

The album occasionally fails when it attempts to slow down the onslaught. Orchestral ballad "A Fight in the Dark" takes detracts from the high paced assault of the first three songs. Luckily, this bore is followed by "Yellow," a cocky, swaggering song with horns á la Cake that put the album back on its furious course. Another misstep is energetic rocker "Walk Like a Clown." Even though it contains one of the album's strongest choruses, one can't help but struggle though the annoying beginning and feel frustrated when it reappears at the end.

From the first spin of this disk, one can help but feel that You're My Lover Now is the work of two separate bands. One being the mellower, Kinks-inspired band credited for the slow-paced ballads such as "Rabbit Run," and the other, more abrasive band that adds a vaudeville touch to "Your Feelings on Life." Each band occasionally stumbles, but together they have composed a wildly inventive and enjoyable album. B | Mike Tangaro

RIYL: White Rabbits, The Coral, Starlight Mints

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