New one from genre-manglers Teeth of The Sea, ‘Wraith’ is the long awaited follow up to 2015’s brilliant ‘Highly Deadly Black Tarantula’. If first cut ‘Hireath’ is anything to go by, then the group are on stellar form, fusing battle-ready dub bass with stuttering drums and horns that blare wildly in opposition with each other.
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I’m no expert, but I think this is prog? ‘Our Love Can Destroy This Whole Fucking World’ strikes me as quite a proggy name for a song. Though maybe it’s actually post-rock? Maybe prog was just post-rock before someone affixed that particular prefix. What I’m getting at, is Wraith, fifth album by psych stalwarts Teeth of the Sea is perhaps not so easily categorised. But this has been a problem since the band’s inception over a decade ago.
So I’ll start with what is there. There’s electronic drums, and metal guitars. There’s acid synth and harmon-muted trumpet. Most of the emotional heavy lifting is done by the trumpet. Perhaps too much. It sounds, on occasion, that the trumpet player for the Godfather’s managed to sneak into a bunch of the band’s sessions and they were too embarrassed to ask them to leave. Though the first appearance of the instrument on ‘Hiraeth’ makes for a striking addition to the album’s palette, by the album’s end it does being to wear, especially as the melodies blown are broad and simplistic.
Much better are the moments where the other elements are allowed to cut loose. ‘Fortean Stead’ is haunting as hell, especially as the only non-instrumental on the album featuring ghostly female vocals that provide a very welcome emotional counterpoint to the shriller horn. The most exciting moment is the conclusion of closer, ‘Gladiators Ready’. A sick acid bass loop is mirrored by a distorted guitar riff which builds and builds and builds…
Before it peters out, just like this review.
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