The Toothe - Talons EP
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: May 6, 2014
To fully understand the city of Asheville, NC, listen to Talons, the six-song EP from folk trio The Toothe, who call the mountain city home. Fully invigorating, incredibly quirky and undeniably magnetic, Talons is indie-folk done right: unapologetic, brazen, brainy and pretty damn infectious. In short, Asheville in a nutshell.
The EP opens with “Earthworms.” a banjo and organ-fueled affair with a hazy, homey charm. Within a minute the song unravels a winning melody and the song coasts from there. Four minutes in, no complaints. The trio employs a similar formula on the ebullient and jocular “Mustard,” a cheery and inspired effort that draws its strength from its quirkiness as much as its musical acumen.
A folk band is only as good as their ballads and the introspective and intimate “Husk” is The Toothe’s first stab at balladry. As one might expect, it is easily the best song of the disc and an absolute must-listen. Should you find interest piqued by said review, do yourself a favor and download “Husk.” The band returns to jangly lo-fi folk on the jubilant and ringing “Slab.” The Toothe are not short of admitting their love for the 1970s (their album art is a direct paean to the era) and while much of Talons EP does feel directly culled from said decade, “Slab” is the first effort that feels as if it was written forty years ago.
Almost predictably The Toothe return to balladry on the understated and deeply inspired “Winedark,” a vernal effort with few if any flaws. Talons closes with a song of the same name and in many ways encompasses all of its five predecessors into one tightly-wrapped near-five minute effort. If “Husk” is the first song from the EP you download, make a point to make “Talons” the second.
In less than 25 minutes, the weirdly wonderful folk trio have cast an indelible and wide impression, something Asheville often does in exactly that amount of time. Though their sound is indeed tough to pin down, anyone who has enjoyed records by the likes of Neutral Milk Hotel, Violent Femmes or Ween will find something to savor here. Sure, they probably won't chart on Billboard, but college radio will scoop this up in nanoseconds.