Review: Technicolor Teeth - "Teenage Pagans"

Technicolor Teeth - Teenage Pagans
(Stroll On Records 2012)
"Ghastly but beautiful ambience"

When a band labels themselves a Shoegaze act, one can usually expect them to craft tunes from weightless, bubbly guitars and heavenly vocals. Wisconsin's Technicolor Teeth is the first band I've seen categorized as "Nightgaze", and the name suits them quite well. Though the spacey sounds created by the trio's six-string assault are lightweight and misty, heavenly isn't quite the best word to describe them. Try hellish. Technicolor Teeth put an unnerving spin on My Bloody Valentine's gravelly ambience, giving their debut album, Teenage Pagans, a ghastly but beautiful sound.

"Magick Sunlamp" kicks off the twelve-track LP with a crisp bass line plucked straight from the sound of the early 90s. It's quickly consumed by an expanding, blob-like mass of scathing guitars. The vocals that shortly follow are delightfully monotone, delivered at a detached gasp that's one half Robert Pollard, one half Kevin Shields. Midway through, the song collapses into a strange, mechanical-sounding breakdown and then quickly rebuilds itself, growing slightly dreamier and slower this time around. "Station Wagon" is the highlight of the album's first half, with a twangy riff reminiscent of the lead guitar on Dinosaur Jr.'s "Just Like Heaven".

"At Home In A Coma" is the longest and most interesting cut off of Teenage Pagans, a creeping atmosphere slowly building as drums crash like waves in a storm. The vocals are at their most prominent on this track, cutting through the sonic tempest, each syllable lodging itself into your brain. "Snow Blind" is my favorite selection from the album. Although musically, it's not too much of a departure from the other tracks, it's a bit more sparse, putting emphasis on the bass. It sounds sort of like Pavement gone shoegaze. Check out Technicolor Teeth if you like Catherine Wheel, Sonic Youth or Swervedriver.