Tiger Teeth by Call And Response (Review)

The EP comes across as more an experiment, a toss-off than anything else.
Tiger Teeth - Call and Response

Originally recorded in 2002, Tiger Teeth is essentially a transitional disc, most likely for completists only. And as such, it’s not surprising that it seems a little out of place in the Badman canon. Most of the label’s roster seems to consist of acts that are of the slower, more atmospheric and melancholy variety (i.e. The Innocence Mission, Clairvoyants, Pleasant Grove, Dakota Suite). Those are not words one can readily apply to Tiger Teeth, as the EP is considerably more buoyant and upbeat, even dancey, reminiscent of The Sea and Cake, Stereolab, and perhaps even a warmer and fuzzier !!! at times.

Clocking in at just over 24 minutes, Tiger Teeth moves at a pretty good clip throughout its 6 songs, utilizing rubbery basslines, chiming guitars, the occasional key flourish, and Simone Rubi’s vocals. There’s nothing particularly gripping here, especially when compared to the aforementioned artists — which makes sense if this was indeed a case of the band testing and teasing their sound in new directions. The EP comes across as more an experiment, a toss-off than anything else.

I don’t mean to denigrate or write off the EP entirely, though. “Connection” moves from airy synths and stark acoustic into sparkling guitars and Rubi’s rollercoaster voice. “Curves In a Straight Line” is the disc’s strongest and most mature track. Rubi’s voice is slightly breathier, and the entire song has an especially breezy quality to it, right before sliding gracefully through slightly grittier choruses and tropical bridges that are adorned with the group’s multipart harmonies.

Overall, though, the EP is just too pleasant to really have much of an impact. The songs are slick and smooth, but a bit too much so. By the time the disc ends, the band’s music has become too limp to really take hold and get under the skin, despite coming close here and there.

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