Chicago’sBaby Teeth have released their full-length, “The Simp,” hot on the heels of their fantastic EP, “We Live Here.” On the EP, the band played a wide variety of styles and genres, running the gamut from Johanna Newsome through Liz Phair and playing with other great Chicago-ans like Bobby Conn and Kelly Hogan.

On their album, the band stays true to their eclectic and wide-ranging tastes and abilities. Although, I must say, the lead vocals sound remarkably close to old Elton John. Not country Elton, but pre-“I’m Still Standing” Elton. When he was still good. Taste the wine jumps through Fleetwood Mac’s hoops and lands squarely in the category of oddball 1973-75 rock. Back then, music was turning away from the heavy blues-based guitar c—k rock of bands like Led Zep as well as the folky styles of Richie Havens. And straight-up Chuck Berry riffs were a thing of the past. Dylan had already picked up an electric guitar, and folks were trying to merge everything together without turning into AM light rock. Baby Teeth sound as if they sprang forward from that era, making songs that could sound at home on a Moby Grape record or even as the soundcheck for a Lou Reed concert.

It’s not easy to listen to. The music and vocals are demanding, and sometimes even grating, but always intentionally so. You wouldn’t want to go to a Baby Teeth show for background music, for example. You’d want to pay attention. The album never stops throwing surprises and new sounds at you. You’ve got the Diaghalev Was Right, which begins as a punky scream fest, crosses a carnival bridge complete with siren whistle (like something off a Country Joe and the Fish album), and then returns to a rootsy, White Striped conclusion. But then Prove It On the Stage comes in with a rock violin and a super-tight rhythm section, and you’re lost again in some uncategorical whirlwind.

Great stuff. Check it out.

Diaghalev Was Right-Baby Teeth

Prove It On The Stage-Baby Teeth


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