PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Teeth of the Sea Transfer 'Wraith' to the Stage in Mesmerizing Fashion

Photo: William van der Voort

Psychedelic rockers Teeth of the Sea lead a fantastic show in support of their latest full-length, Wraith. Alongside them Slow Knife and Trianglecuts fill out the bill in wonderful fashion.

The ambitious vision of Teeth of the Sea has followed them since their inception back in 2006. The London-based band displayed resistance in conforming to the norms of their psychedelic rock foundation and instead used the foundation of the genre as a launching pad, a point of origin from which they could explore new concepts and ideas. Through the years this approach has resulted in Teeth of the Sea building a stellar discography, and one that reached its peak recently with the release of their latest record Wraith. It was in support of their new record that the band set out on a UK tour and I had the chance to catch them live in Manchester, alongside Trianglecuts and Slow Knife.

The first band to take the stage in Soup Kitchen was Trianglecuts, the duo of Doug Hemingway and Gwen Osmond. The setup was minimal, as the band's music is mostly projected through Hemingway's assembly of electronics, effects, and synthesizers. The impact that those had, however, was substantial, with all these sonic processors implemented to result in a full force assault. The heavy beats and new wave notions combined perfectly with Osborne's performance, as she recorded live her deliveries and then further manipulated these to a fantastic result.

Most of the intricacies of Trianglecuts sound comes from their fascinating take on combining different themes and styles and further enhancing these with a touch of sound design. It is this attribute that gives the duo its intoxicating quality. The only downside to their performance was a few minor issues with the sound due to a faulty cable, but thankfully those were resolved. So do check them out, because their brew of dark, electronically infused new wave is worth your time.

Photo: Wiliam van der Voort

Following the harrowing performance of Trianglecuts, Slow Knife take the stage and start setting up in bizarre fashion. Everything about their stage presence yelled that this was going to be entertaining. The line-up included an intriguing combination of drums, saxophone, harmonium, theremin, and vocals. Yet, Slow Knife's peculiarity was not contained only in their choice of instrumentation and also trespassed on the band's dress code, with the vocalist performing in a suit and tie with a Venetian mask to top it all off. So, at this point, I already know I am in for a treat before I also see that they are using MAX/MSP (a programming language used for audio, video and other media), so this is just getting better and better.

The actual performance was both incredible and strange in equal measures. Slow Knife move through eccentric pathways, at times displaying a punk quality and then a more laid back vibe verging more towards an experimental chamber, baroque act. The drums provided the music's foundation, with the saxophone sitting on top and leading through dissonant routes, while the harmonium exploded the textural background and the theremin shined through its piercing quality. The vocals were entirely comprised of spoken word passages with the singer having to read through prints at the time (it would have been impressive if he managed otherwise), arriving with conviction and a fiery delivery while the video on the background provided a loose narrative. Slow Knife are an interesting act to watch with a very off-kilter viewpoint.

Wiliam van der Voort

But then it was the time of the headliners. Teeth of the Sea arrived on stage around 21.15, without a drummer, following Mat Colegate's departure in 2017, the trio took its place with Mike Bourne behind a plethora of synths and electronics, guitarist Jimmy Martin with his flying-V and Sam Burton alternating between bass and trumpet. The band opens the set in cinematic fashion with "Our Love Can Destroy This Whole Fucking World" as serene synths and sparse percussive elements fill the walls of the venue and then it was time for takeoff as they unleashed the absolute opus that is Wraith's closer "Gladiators Ready".

The heavy techno infused progression of the track met with the huge bass lines and the guitar leaks to create a moment of pure electronic bliss. It is a testament to the ability of Teeth of the Sea to create such a diverse sound and execute it to perfection. This openness to different sounds and influences also leaks into the trio's live performance, and their set kept transforming from one track to the next.

Wiliam van der Voort

There were times when it felt as if this was a rave, with the band relying mostly on their electronic components as if they were improvisationally DJing, with tracks like "VISITOR". And then this feeling would utterly change, as the focus shifted towards Burton's trumpet, which unleashed some beautiful, noir-esque moments with "Hiraeth" and its moving melodies. In turn, these would, of course, further transform and start exploring an almost free-jazz performance.

Then of course, Martin's presence and his magnificent and precise execution would mutate Teeth of the Sea again, making them appear as a technical progressive rock act. Endless guitar exploration would ensue, from standard shredding all the way to placing a beer bottle over the strings and investigating the resulting timbre. It was a total blast, and it showed their aptitude when it comes to musicianship, with Bourne at times taking over the bass so Burton could focus on the trumpet, and Martin performing on synths and guitar. It was a performance that completely solidified the quality of their latest work, and one of the best I have seen lately.

Wiliam van der Voort

The band will be performing at the Science Museum in London for a special event, scoring live the Smithsonian Channel's new series 'Apollo's Moon Shot'.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.