Little Teeth - Child Bearing Man
Record Label: Absolutely Kosher
Release Date: September 9, 2008
Little Teeth create a Bohemian-pop rhapsody on their latest album, Child Bearing Man that has a gypsy punk clamor liken to Gogol Bordello with avant folk splashing and glam-pop histrionics reminiscent of The Dresden Dolls. No matter how many times you play Child Bearing Man, the album always sounds like a music student’s project with the goal to incorporate all of the classmates instruments into the compositions. It does not matter how out of key the vocals are, or how much the banging in the movements veer off-kilter, as long as everyone is accounted for that is all that matters.
The San Francisco based trio of Little Teeth did just that with lead singer Dannie Murrie’s vocals creaking at every point. Ammo Eisu’s drumming and cello and violin chords trundle at a metronome that ticks to its own internal timing, and Andy Tisdall’s banjo shuffles and bass thumps mousy through the melodic phrases like a rolling bale of hay skidding across a field. There are overtones of bluegrass and country when Tisdall’s banjo and Murrie’s mandolin and accordion keys spin off into jamming whirlies, but most of the album has a gypsy punk folk fluster that have a tattered make-up and toy-like chimes giving the tunes a great amount of playfulness and wobbling. The gypsy punk rumples of “Oh Drag” have the kiddy-toy chimes of The Sippy Cups but with the adult handling of The Flaming Lips. The bluegrass shindig of “Applegate” is sleeved in showy flails with a square dance/hootenanny pace and a gypsy propped cadence.
The album delves into an avant art-pop tunage in “OHM” and “Livers & Heart Disease,” while the country shades of the banjo in “Between My Ears” are backed up by traditional toe tapping rhythms. The lyrics in “Between My Ears” show the band’s penchant to use symbolism and figurative expressions in their verses like, “Could’a held my hand / But busy fingers played a note with no repair / It’s the piece of promise there that was tangled in my hair.” Murrie’s vocal blemishes are not only apparent but exaggerated by her hoarse timbres. The slow drifting acoustics of tracks like “Good Girls and Boys” “White Houses,” and “Japanese Candy” are gently whisked while strolling along a carousal ride’s axel. The band executes circus-like stylistics and theatrics that recall of Vagabond Opera producing a brigade of instruments. The clicking beats of “Sideways” are ribbed by whiny strings which create a Bohemian vibe, and then smoothen to a satiny texture on the wind-chimed fillings of “Terrible News.”
Little Teeth may only be made up of three people but their brigades have the might of thirty. They exude a Bohemian-pop playfulness in their songs that is totally off-beat and skewed far from mainstream. Child Bearing Man is original without a doubt, and music that you would expect from a student becoming acquainted with the building blocks of tunesmith, and Little Teeth do not purport to be anything more that that.