It’s not too clear whether London foursome Teeth Of The Sea’s third album should have its title written in all capitals or not, but to listen to this astounding set is to form an opinion in the positive. This is a record that demands to be shouted about.
The band’s ferocity has long been established in a live environment, eardrums popping within a five-mile radius of a night’s performance. But while TOTS’s 2010 album ‘Your Mercury’ was fine indeed, it didn’t quite capture that irrepressible energy, that desire to devour an audience, which the average TOTS set can deliver.
‘MASTER’ manages that. It is all consuming: from the magical moment that the looped beats of ‘Reaper’ brass-knuckle their way into the brain matter, through to the Beta-Band-goes-A-Space-Odyssey climax of ‘Responder’, where a mournful trumpet orbits a core of wild white noise. There is no relenting. No retreat.
‘Black Strategy’ is something like krautrock gone 2-step, sort of baffling in an if-only-Radiohead-could-do-this fashion, yet entirely in keeping with a band whose only M.O. is to entirely do away with expectations by smashing them against whatever skyline they’re looking to level next. At least, that’s the impression until two-and-some minutes from the end, when the track explodes into a mariachi death spin beamed into the present day from a battle-scarred 23rd century.
Later, ‘All Human Is Error’ is a terrifying wall of noise that engulfs at least three senses – you can taste it all over. Its nerves-shredding shrieks might be human of origin, but they’ve been wholly twisted by wicked machinery. ‘The Servant’ is the (necessary) shaft of light that pierces the raging thunderclouds, but even its relative calmness is delivered with eerie synth tones and bubbling horns that splutter like bloody death in the throat of a guts-shot soldier.
Most bands master a sound, but there’s the distinct feeling here that TOTS are merely vessels for a force operating somewhere beyond our comprehension of what can, and does, qualify as pop music. You can dance to this, in places, but you’ll be doing so above a barely buried portal to a place unknown. Careful where you step.
Words: Mike Diver
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Stream ‘MASTER’ in full via Deezer, below…