Just the other day, CKY’s “96 Quite Bitter Beings” popped into my head, appropo of nothing, and I started wondering if there were any songs out there with that over-processed guitar sound that didn’t have irritating vocals and lyrics. Two days later — boom, Police Teeth‘s self-titled LP shows up in my inbox, and the very first track, “Bellingham Media Blackout,” brings that stomping, processed tone, but sans any of the irritating qualities that mar CKY’s tune.
And you know how annoyed I was at Ampersands’ overly-separated, clean tones last week? Police Teeth have clean production, but in the right way. It’s the manner by which you do it, really. Rather than having everything isolated, it’s this rich combination of sonic elements. Every instrument on Police Teeth is distinct, but not isolated.
That, really, is the key to a great rock ‘n’ roll album — everything clear and distinct, but mixed together in such a way that it becomes a wall of sound. You want to be able to hear those guitars, and the bass, and the drums, and the vocals.
Sadly, while the production’s pretty solid, the album as a whole is unremarkable, aside from the opening track. Songs like “Chicago One Point Five” or “Where’s My Fucking Hug?” do an admirable job of melding post-punk’s declamatory yelps and the bordering on imploding vibe as purveyed by the likes of the Jesus Lizard or the Hives, but it’s all a bit plodding and desultory, and doesn’t do a lot to blow my hair back.