Review Summary: Raw and inventive but, flawed and uneven debut. Provides early glimpse of a band in it's infancy destined for bigger and better things. Highlights out-weigh the missteps with the drumming and bass worth the price of admission.
Babyteeth is the debut EP of Irish alt-Metal band Therapy?
Here the band is at it's most raw, industrial and experimental. If you look for it, there are traces of the direction of the band which two years later will break out with the classic single Screamager..but you'll have to listen hard. One issue with this EP, is that it's too unfocused. It sways from club-tinged industrial, to grunge, to metal, to noise. Lyricaly most of the songs are very simple, in some cases nothing more than shouted phrases, but you do get hints of Andy Cairns talent, which will blossom in the near future. Babyteeth is a fitting name, as it clearly illustrates a band in it's infancy still searching for direction and a chance to breakthrough. As rough, and at times inaccessable as it is, we get a few early classics for the bands catalog that make it quite worth while.
At the time of Babyteeth, Therapy?'s music was primarily driven by the , inventive, club inspired drumming of Fyfe Ewing, and the hard driving bass of Mike McKeegan. Here the band utilizes heavy dose of samples to add some color. For several of the tracks on this EP the guitar provides more ambient noise than driving riffs. The production is about as indie as you can get, but that's not a bad thing for some of the songs, yet does hold back a few.
The first track Meat Abstract. kicks off with a sample from Blade Runner "Wake Up...Time to Die", then launcing into the main riff. The problem with this song is it seems to ramble, insted of drive. Here is where the production clearly fails the track. Anyone who has heard Meat Abstract live knows there is more potential to it, than is illustrated here.
Skyward is the most conventional of the EPs tracks. It's a proto-grunge track driven with a simple guitar riff and colored with some simple lead work. Again the track seems too subdued to be fully effective, but compared to some of the other tracks, it is quite accessable if pedestrian.
Punishment Kiss shows the band putting it toghether nicely. The drums and bass are absolutely driving, and the guitar fills in the gaps effectively. The lyrics give us a great glimps of the dark humor Andy Cairns will be best know for "Little the Ian the camp old queen, went to London and came back lean...Little Lizzy fond of the sun, came back with more than a tan"
The duo of Animal Bones and Loser Cop are the band at it's noisiest, with Andy Cairns screaming more than singing on the first and barely any singing at all on the latter. Loser Cop is almost a noise-jazz fusion piece, complete with squaking saxes and only two lyrics delivered by the band, in fact the samples are used as the verses more than anything sung by the band which are delivered as quick shouts.
The biggest highlights of the album are the final two songs, Innocent X and Dancin' with Manson. In these two songs we see a band firing on all cylinders, everything comes together. Both tracks are driven by brilliant basslines, which are worth the price of the EP alone. These are Mike McKeegan's trophy pieces. Innocent X is very much a club track, where Dancin' with Mansion leans more in the metal direction the band was destined to take in the future. This is a great juxtoposition of where the band was, and where it was going.
Babyteeth is an interesting and worth while look at Therapy? in it's early stages, warts and all.