[19 February 2008]
Wooden Teeth is one of those frustrating albums whose individual constituents there is nothing discernibly wrong with, but the sum of which remains elusively unsatisfying. Cuts like “Feel Good Drag” showcase decent melodies and an impressively tight rhythm section, but disappointingly Mouse Fire fail to expand on these to incorporate them into anything truly memorably. Every positive is followed by a negative; the aforementioned highlight’s dueling guitar and keys slide into Joey Bruce’s wearied vocals, while the pendulous groove of “Comes Around Goes Around” never fulfills the potential of its overtures. Though Bruce’s serene purr does find a fitting environment on “The Unknown” and “To Celebrate a Suicide”, such offerings, while pleasant, are ultimately transient. At fault, perhaps, is not just the band—“Started a Fire” is good enough to be a lost Minus the Bear track, but while in the latter’s hands it would most likely be both boisterous and captivating, Wooden Teeth‘s production, added to the lack of electronic sheen, leaves it sounding hazy. As does, in fact, most of the album—the press release says “dance rock”, but in truth you can’t imagine anyone either dancing or rocking out to this. Great name, though.