Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Toothe - Talons EP


Before moving on to my review of The Toothe’s Talons EP, which originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer, here’s another fun opportunity for the 4th Of July. Phyllis’ Musical Inn on Chicago’s north side continues its long-standing tradition of celebrating the holiday with lots of live music. The hard-edged and bitingly clever power pop band Van Go perform at 8:00 PM, followed by The Right Tidys, a power pop band fronted by vocalist Erica Loftus. Lou Galassini plays bass for both acts, so he’ll have a busy night. 

And now, here’s The Toothe.

On its new Talons EP, The Toothe conspires to embed troubling imagery within sprightly Americana arrangements. Looking for the right words to tell a significant other that your relationship has lost its zest? Try, “All of the earthworms baking on the pavement know exactly how I feel.” That sentiment is from “Earthworms,” a banjo-driven opening track that sets the tone for the five songs that follow afterward.

The North Carolina trio has also been known to sweeten toxic lyrics with gorgeous Crosby, Stills and Nash style harmonies. “Husk,” another study of a withered romance, rivals CSN’s “Helplessly Hoping” for acoustic beauty as the boys sing, “You’re passing through me like a kidney stone, torturously slow.” The intricate instrumentation on “Wine Dark” sounds like it was inspired by Led Zeppelin 3, while the moodier title track has lines like, “You took my love and put it to death.” It’s easy to see how The Toothe’s subversive approach could become too much of a gimmick, but if that does happen, these guys have the ability to succeed with other approaches.

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