In the last decade, the iconoclastic four-pronged force of Teeth Of The Sea has traversed from its origins in North London pub gigs and basement rehearsal rooms to far-flung locales that its members could scarcely have considered possible when they first began. Yet this band has never lost sight of its original vision - to reconcile a fearless experimental drive with a primal lust for noise. To exist outside of all or any compromise. Yet never to lose sight of the crucial irreverence of their inception.
Their fourth album ‘Highly Deadly Black Tarantula’, in all its malevolent glory, may well be the apex of their mission thus far. Following in the wake of the release of their mind-melting third album ‘MASTER’’.
2014 was a bizarre and thrilling year for Teeth Of The Sea, taking them to unexpected territory both physical and metaphysical - a re-imagining of the modern-day midnight movie A Field In England saw performances at both Cork Film Festival and Hackney Picture House, and was released on Rocket Recordings on a limited run for Record Store Day. A new audio-visual piece The Last Man was performed at both Cineglobe Festival in Cern, home of the Large Hadron Particle Collider, and at Transilvania International Film Festival in Cluj-Napoca.
What’s more, the band travelled to America for the first time to perform in Austin, Texas for SXSW and to Portugal for Milhoes De Festa, as well as finishing the year off with a comprehensive demolition job of Liverpool Psych Fest.However, as 2015 dawned, the band set about reinventing themselves once again - both returning from the ornate and expansive sounds of ‘MASTER’ to their gnarled roots and pushing firmly forward in search of adventure anew.
What resulted was ‘Highly Deadly Black Tarantula’, their most focused and aggressive album yet. Machine-driven yet melodically abundant, the widescreen industrial expanses of this album combine the influence of long-time band favourites like Aphex Twin, Angelo Badalamenti and Throbbing Gristle with new inspiration that spans from Chicago footwork to black metal. What’s more, it’s a collection as rich in scope as it is powerful in intent.
Whilst the pummelling and incisive ‘Animal Manservant’ and the kinetic dancefloor attack of ‘Field Punishment’ maintain an audial assault both concise and corrosive, the monomaniacal ‘Have You Ever Held A Bird Of Prey’ represents a fearless plunge into the experimental deep end. Elsewhere, the bleak cinematic drama of ‘All My Venom’ strikes like hammer to anvil, and ‘Love Theme For 1984’ may be the most richly emotive work the band have yet created.
This is no less than a vital reinvention, abusing technology and warping convention to arrive at a monochrome psychedelia as stylish as it is savage. Yet even whilst ushering in delight and deliverance for both fans of this band and the uninitiated, ‘HIghly Deadly Black Tarantula’- a fearsomely coherent assault of post-everything dementia - sounds like no-one but Teeth Of The Sea.
1. All My Venom
2. Animal Manservant
3. Field Punishment
4. Have You Ever Held A Bird Of Prey
6. Love Theme For 1984