All Teeth is a band that has been, for some time, highly active while flying almost completely under the radar. The past four years have seen them complete several full U.S. tours and their solid 2009 full-length, I Am Losing, but with some well-placed refinement and the release this EP for Panic Records, the hardcore spotlight should focus directly on this Ukiah, California-based band.
Since I Am Losing, All Teeth has gone through major member changes, including picking up both a new guitar player and drummer, and dropping from two standalone vocalists to one. These changes see the band emerge with a tighter sound and a more streamlined approach, with the band smartly managing to improve on their weak points while retaining the best aspects of their previous material.
Musically, the band plays an updated take on the American Nightmare sound with fast sections and some supremely catchy, driving breakdowns like in the opener, "Goodbye Faye Dolan", whose breakdown reminds me of the catchiest moments on Gallows' first record, Orchestra of Wolves. Throughout, the guitars take center stage with a great tone and often display serious indicators of the band's west coast roots, like the in the palm-muted intro to "Downers" and the awesome faux-reggae ending of the previously mentioned opening track.
One unique characteristic that this band has always shown in its releases and continues with Young Love is the ability to create an incredibly coherent listen from front to back. There are few bands that put so much effort into sequencing and transitions between songs as All Teeth does and the extra attention to detail pays off. The band utilizes this approach live as well and it makes for a compelling and impressive listen in both the recorded and live mediums.
A major improvement on this release is in the vocal and lyrical department. The second vocalist from their previous material is not missed, and instead this record features a slew of big-name hardcore guest vocalists, including Ross Farrar of Ceremony, Cody Sullivan of Sabertooth Zombie, Jay Maas of Defeater and Juan Gabe of Comadre. Guest vocals can be hit or miss, but each guest here fits in well and never seems out of place. Lyrically, the band explores darker themes including regret, anxiety and anger, but has unique enough of a perspective to keep it interesting. "Caller ID" tackles a falling out with a friend: "Maybe it was your father that pushed you in while I was looking for a different solution. Now I go over to your house and watch you rot. Unrelenting awkwardness. Started out when we were just kids, so I ran as far as I could get. Turn me inside out find no trace of you. Every day for you will end the same."
As mentioned in the intro, look for All Teeth to break out with this release. It's heavy, catchy, and a totally compelling listen from front to back. Highly recommended for fans of hardcore.