If previous album ‘Your Mercury’ taught us anything, it’s that Teeth of the Sea aren’t afraid of diving into their churning, self-made gloom without an escape route.
Content to muddle around dense melodies, electronic murk, foundation-shaking pulses and ragged Mariachi trumpet,
third album ‘Master’ is another opaque collection of weighty, ever-evolving landscapes.
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From the static, dead tones and creepy spoken word interludes to the fragmented, hacked noise of ‘Black Strategy’,
the dark mist regularly descends. On ‘Reaper’ it’s channelled into a rolling electronic storm of duelling robot guitar battles and stadium rock grandstanding but hits with a metal weight
and dropped-chord drama on the shredded thrash of ‘Pleiades Underground_Inexorable Master’.
Tense, intrepid and wilfully impenetrable, ‘Master’ is an album built on gargantuan guile and no end of grit, but buried amongst the tumult, ‘Siren
Spectre’ is a titanic piece of music of a different measure.
The brief oasis of calm in an otherwise violent sea.
has overtones of Elliot Smith in both sound and style, but
the high point here is ‘The Burning Of The Temple’, which carries echoes of Leonard Cohen. It’s a superbly downbeat song,
which if personified would be sitting in a basement bar, its hands cradling a triple whiskey, an inescapable melancholy consuming its soul. Another
highlight comes in ‘Joe Murder’, a brooding rock epic with grandiose tendencies and vaguely hippy-ish lyrics,
like, “I burn my wallet and purge my soul”. With such a strong set of influences so evident, you sometimes wonder where McCombs is in all of this, and yet while there’s nothing particularly startling about ‘Big Wheel
and Others’, compared to McCombs’
covered on X Factor, instead of her being in line to hack them to death and cry on TV. More in keeping with her age: citing SBTRKT and Burial as
influences, writing lines like,
“I remember when your head caught flame” for the purpose of a rhyme and basing her best song around going down to the tennis court and talking it out, “like yeah.
” It’s then that Lorde combines the frivolity of youth and the new science of FM pop 2.0 to unchallengeable affect.
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