Music

Teeth of the Sea Return with Their New Alchemical Experiment 'Wraith'

Photo: Al Overdrive / Courtesy of Rocket Recordings

Through the electronic and jazz themes of Wraith, it is Teeth of the Sea's psychedelia that prevails.

Wraith
Teeth of the Sea

Rocket Recordings

22 February 2019

It is a difficult task to alter one's musical identity from one record to the next. But still, there are some bands that have been able to achieve such magical results, like the Melvins or the noise powerhouse Wolf Eyes. Teeth of the Sea, the psychedelic, experimental band from London, appear to take a cue from such acts, and throughout their discography they have been able to evolve and mutate. Their works have found them experimenting with straight psychedelic rock motifs, noise elements, jazz, and free improvisational characteristics all the way to electronic and dubstep and a touch of post-rock. This demeanor of not standing is what depicts the core attribute of Teeth of the Sea, their utter unwillingness to be pigeonholed.

In this same manner, the band's new work sees them performing their alchemical experiments in pursuit of another distinct and unique manifestation. In order to achieve that end goal, the band puts together an impressive array of mismatched elements, starting from the electronic and industrial qualities that forge the backbone of Wraith. "I'd Rather, Jack" sees this mechanical motif present itself, creating a colder and more detached foundation. Even further within the electronic groove and theme, the band unleashes "VISITOR", a transcendental electronic track, that unravels the colder industrial touch and immerses the listener into a Vangelis-like mesmerizing trip.

On the other end however, there is a very different element that acts as the counterpart to the electronic foundation of Wraith. The inclusion of the saxophone in the start of "Hiraeth" is not simply a nice moment, a fleeting addition, that the band briefly visits. On the contrary, it is a core component of Wraith's vision. The soundscapes are plunged in the smooth jazz quality that the sax brings forth, dressing the ambiance in a noir tone. Still, that is not its sole role, and throughout the record, the sax creates many much more tense moments. The opening of "Burn the Shielding" sees this jazz sense take over and result into a towering manifestation, which then morphs and brings in a much more emotive and darker essence.

No matter how the electronic and jazz sides are used, how the two interact brings out an aura of mystery. It feels like the cyberpunk landscapes that the band has set are painted anew with the jazz crescendos. When the two sides collide, in the case of "Her Wraith", the result is this magnificent, ethereal outburst, with the tribal drumming in the final part of the track adding to this mystical experience. "Our Love Can Destroy This Whole Fucking World" is a similar endeavor, but this time around the band takes a turn towards an even more off-kilter dimension, transforming the futuristic scenery into an alien world.

This stitching together of different styles would not be successful if Teeth of the Sea did not find a cohesive material to connect them. The band's psychedelic mindset, however, makes things much easier. No matter what area they are exploring, they implement audio effects and slight touches to bring all elements under the same roof. In the opening track, it's the guitar leads that become the glue between the psychedelic and electronic sides. It is a similar case with "Hiraeth" where a few simple licks take the track a long way and drench the soundscapes in this sweet, hazy feeling. This attribute even becomes a portal, which transports Teeth of the Sea to completely unexpected directions.

The closing track of the album "Gladiators Ready" summarizes the true essence of the band. While retaining a strong electronic foundation, the focus is on the psychedelic aspect of the music, the core attribute of Teeth of the Sea, and so they deliver a strong, final trip leaving you amidst a haze of sounds and images that are bombarding you from all directions. This knowledge of handling different genres and creating an amalgamation out of all the those different sides is what makes Wraith such an intriguing listen. Through its duration, the band undergoes various mutations, introduces strange motifs and bizarre progressions, but it is all so well balanced and presented that this process appears to be effortless.

8
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

In 'Wandering Dixie', Discovering the Jewish South Is Part of Discovering Self

Sue Eisenfeld's Wandering Dixie is not only a collection of dispatches from the lost Jewish South but also a journey of self-discovery.

Music

Bill Withers and the Curse of the Black Genius

"Lean on Me" singer-songwriter Bill Withers was the voice of morality in an industry without honor. It's amazing he lasted this long.

Film

Jeff Baena Explores the Intensity of Mental Illness in His Mystery, 'Horse Girl'

Co-writer and star Alison Brie's unreliable narrator in Jeff Baena's Horse Girl makes for a compelling story about spiraling into mental illness.

Music

Pokey LaFarge Hits 'Rock Bottom' on His Way Up

Americana's Pokey LaFarge performs music in front of an audience as a way of conquering his personal demons on Rock Bottom.

Music

Joni Mitchell's 'Shine' Is More Timely and Apt Than Ever

Joni Mitchell's 2007 eco-nightmare opus, Shine is more timely and apt than ever, and it's out on vinyl for the first time.

Music

'Live at Carnegie Hall' Captures Bill Withers at His Grittiest and Most Introspective

Bill Withers' Live at Carnegie Hall manages to feel both exceptionally funky and like a new level of grown-up pop music for its time.

Music

Dual Identities and the Iranian Diaspora: Sepehr Debuts 'Shaytoon'

Electronic producer Sepehr discusses his debut album releasing Friday, sparing no detail on life in the Iranian diaspora, the experiences of being raised by ABBA-loving Persian rug traders, and the illegal music stores that still litter modern Iran.

Television

From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 2, The B-52's to Magazine

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part two with the Cure, Mission of Burma, the B-52's and more.

Music

Emily Keener's "Boats" Examines Our Most Treasured Relationships (premiere)

Folk artist Emily Keener's "Boats" offers a warm look back on the road traveled so far—a heartening reflection for our troubled times.

Music

Paul Weller - "Earth Beat" (Singles Going Steady)

Paul Weller's singular modes as a soul man, guitar hero, and techno devotee converge into a blissful jam about hope for the earth on "Earth Beat".

Games

On Point and Click Adventure Games with Creator Joel Staaf Hästö

Point and click adventure games, says Kathy Rain and Whispers of a Machine creator Joel Staaf Hästö, hit a "sweet spot" between puzzles that exercise logical thinking and stories that stimulate emotions.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 1, Gang of Four to the Birthday Party

If we must #quarantine, at least give us some post-punk. This week we are revisiting the best post-punk albums of all-time and we kick things off with Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd., Throbbing Gristle, and more.

Music

Alison Chesley Toils in Human and Musical Connectivity on Helen Money's 'Atomic'

Chicago-based cellist, Alison Chesley (a.k.a. Helen Money) creates an utterly riveting listen from beginning to end on Atomic.

Music

That Kid's 'Crush' Is a Glittering Crossroads for E-Boy Music

That Kid's Crush stands out for its immediacy as a collection of light-hearted party music, but the project struggles with facelessness.

Books

Percival Everett's ​​​'Telephone​​​' Offers a Timely Lesson

Telephone provides a case study of a family dynamic shaken by illness, what can be controlled, and what must be accepted.

Reviews

Dream Pop's Ellis Wants to be 'Born Again'

Ellis' unhappiness serves as armor to protect her from despair on Born Again. It's better to be dejected than psychotic.

Music

Counterbalance No. 10: 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols'

The Spirit of ’77 abounds as Sex Pistols round out the Top Ten on the Big List. Counterbalance take a cheap holiday in other people’s misery. Right. Now.

Film

'Thor: Ragnarok' Destroys and Discards the Thor Mythos

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok takes a refreshingly iconoclastic approach to Thor, throwing out the old, bringing in the new, and packaging the story in a colourful, gorgeously trashy aesthetic that perfectly captures the spirit of the comics.

Music

Alps 2 and Harry No Release Eclectic Single "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" (premiere)

Alps 2 and Harry NoSong's "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" is a dizzying mix of mangled 2-step rhythms and woozy tranquil electronics.

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.