By Davis Blount
Homegrown artists Deadtooth have been making waves since their days together at Lone Peak High school. Known for their signature garage rock, fuzzed out sound, Deadtooth will be dropping a self-titled LP on October 17, 2015.
The band doesn’t waste any time out the gate, delivering a lo-fi sonic punch with the opening song, “Garbage.” While some may find the unconventional style of vocals initially hard to stomach, the band brings up recollections of Joy Division and Bob Dylan stylistically with regard to the vocal contributions.
This band, however, does not just derive its sound from the lead vocals of Schuyler Finley. More often than not, the band’s sound is driven by the white-knuckle action of the band itself. From screeching guitar solos to wicked bass grooves and deft drums, this band’s ability to play is definitely up to snuff. Generally, the whole sound that Deadtooth creates has a sense of reckless abandon, a kind of controlled chaos that has been saved the laborious process of making their sound studio clean. Sure, Deadtooth has some rough edges in their music, but it is that very grunge that makes Deadtooth’s sound so distinctive.
While fans may recognize the general sound (and some of the songs) that grace the beginning of this album, they may be surprised to hear a new, more mellow vibe in the latter half of the album. Upon arriving at the track, “Mid Evil,” a new sound greets our ears. To open the song, a recorder/flute/ocarina (you never know with these guys) begins a beautiful melody unlike anything else previously heard on the album. Eventually, the flute is joined by the band’s more upbeat and fast-tempo instrumental and things are brought to a more familiar tone for “Evil Girl.”
The sonic change in tone, however, does not begin and end with “Mid Evil”: What are we to do with the keys heard in “Doctor, Doctor”? In the following track, “Dragonstrike,” listeners get a blend of the two previous sounds mentioned. The piano introduced in the previous song is still present and helps keep time for the opening half of the song, but is slowly accompanied by guitar riffs and drumbeats until the band hits their signature stride again. “Lil’ Cowboy” stands even further in contrast to the album’s opening songs: A quiet, introspective song accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, we see Deadtooth’s art as much more vulnerable and far from the intergalactic garage rockers we are accustomed to seeing. Is this a tale of two albums? Or is it simply a band looking to diversify and break a genre that has been forced upon them? Either way, the contrasting sounds can each be enjoyed as parts of a greater whole.
All in all, Deadtooth’s ambitious 14-track album is a triumphant one. Oddly enough, the band becomes more “experimental” with their sound when straying from the experimental lo-fi rock that listeners have come to expect. Whether the latter half of the band’s album is a sign of things to come or simply a metaphorical dip of the toe into new musical waters, the band is headed in a very positive direction.