All Teeth - I Am Losing (Cover Artwork)

All Teeth

I Am Losing (2009)

High Fidelity

Currently, in the U.S. there are two distinct hardcore scenes. Aesthetically and content-wise, there is little to differentiate them. Rather, in hardcore more than any other genre, there is a sense of belonging and not belonging to the club -- essentially, you are in or you are not. Curious on what bands are in the club? Look no further than the big hardcore fests all over the country that feature mostly the same bands, from the same regions and on the same labels. That said, many of these bands work hard and deserve their success, but contrast a list of the bands clearly in the club with a list of hardcore bands that steadily tour and gain a following, but are never fully accepted in the more mainstream scene, and you will see a disparity. A perfect example is the recently disbanded Die Young, who toured as much if not more than any recent hardcore band, yet you still would never find them headlining This Is Hardcore or The Great American Hardcore Fest (another new hardcore fest just like all the rest!?!??! Get your limited shirts and LPs!).

That brings us to All Teeth's debut full-length, I Am Losing. This band is not in the club, so you won't see their name on the Sound and Fury poster this year or be seeing a Bridge Nine flashing banner touting this album, but from front to back, this record is a complete statement that plays perfectly through from beginning to end. More than most hardcore releases, All Teeth has nailed writing an "album" and not just a loose collection of songs.

The unlisted opening track starts ominously with a simple, clean drumbeat that eventually builds to the anthemic us-against-the-world call of "Loved never, hated forever!" It's a type of move that most bands would choose to end an album with, but it segues perfectly into one of the standout tracks, "Deadman," a quick jaunt closing with the hooky question, "did you figure it out, that no gives a fuck about worthless piece of shit?" It's not Shakespeare, but with the smart setup around it, it's certainly relatable.

I Am Losing continues on with its fast abrasive attack moving perfectly between songs until it finally slows down on track nine, "May Days," featuring a cool harmonized guitar line that segues perfectly again in the next track, "California Sons." A standout aspect of this album is that it just doesn't stop, making it that much more powerful of a hardcore record. In addition, a surprisingly thick and full production style enhances it that much more.

Lyrically, All Teeth is pretty much full of hate and you probably won't find a rock record this year with such liberal use of the f-word, so if that kind of thing turns you off or you find it un-artistic, you might want to steer clear of this one. But, another difference from most bands, even with two standalone singers, is that almost every member of the band takes shots at lines on this record and it works well to mix it up as opposed to the one-person monotony of most hardcore records. I would usually argue against this kind of thing, but they really do pull it off.

I Am Losing is a solid slab of breakdown-free fast hardcore that is certain to make my year end list. Give it a shot if you like your hardcore coming from pissed-off underdogs.