Wolf Teeth - A House//A Home (Cover Artwork)

Wolf Teeth

A House//A Home (2015)


Wolf Teeth plays a contemporary style of screamo that I'd call fairly traditional, with cascading riffs, syncopated drum patterns and an emphasis on dynamics. The guitar, bass and drums keep the songs tight and punchy, shifting effortlessly through each tempo change. The grim minor key guitar arrangements compliment the lyrics and tone well, shifting from Drive Like Jehuvian octave chords to bleakly arpeggiated interludes and intros. Requisite Touche Amore name check. Vocalist Eddy Marflak's vocals range from the melodic, to earnest exhortation, to shrieking screams. All of this, you're probably muttering, suitably dresses the lyrical content throughout A House//A Home.

The lyrics range from blunt admission, a disqueting call/response of "I don't deserve this love / I always fuck this up" to observations so earnest they made me cringe. Conclusions drawn like "my brother tried to hang himself before he was even born, I think he was onto something" were so honest and biting that I stopped reading along with the little bandcamp lyrics thing for a few seconds. Cringe as I might, the cringing had only begun as the EP approached the samples from phone messages, presumably from Marflak's father. Tiny glimpses of life like buying flowers, missed calls, and petitions for visits all crash headfirst into the realization that the father is dead. These samples, in their brutal presentation, form the linchpin of the album.

All of the lyrics are abruptly contextualized in a manner that sets this release apart from other screamo contemporaries. Grim recollections like "I was born to an alcoholic adolescent couple of star-crossed lovers, falling to their deaths" are made that much more jarring after hearing the kind and thoughtful messages from a tired man whose mind had long been addled by substance abuse. Between the raging tempos of the music, the sudden contrast we hear in these voicemails is crushing. We're placed directly in the shoes of the lyricist, which is one of the most powerful outcomes you can ask for in lyrics. Placed in this perspective, we share the band's efforts to find closure and reconciliation in a completely fucked situation. As the closing lyrics ask whether the situation will improve, I found myself wondering the same thing. Wolf Teeth has released a compelling albeit traditional debut that sets the bar, musically and lyrically, high.